You certainly didn’t get married to get divorced. Unfortunately, now you find yourself
humming the chorus of that Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams duet. Before you
move on and “end something that you knew,” you need to make certain you get yours—
1. Know the laws in your state regarding the division of
property, assets and liabilities.
Research the approach that your state uses: community property or equitable
distribution. Knowing this in advance will influence your negotiation strategy.
• C ommunity property: property acquired during the marriage; joint ownership
is automatically presumed by law in the absence of evidence that would point
to a different conclusion
• E quitable distribution: before making a ruling, the future financial situation of
each spouse, after the termination of the marriage, is considered
2. Take inventory of your assets.
List what you own, its approximate market value and its emotional value to
you. Also, get the last 24 to 36 months of banking, credit card and investment
statements. Hire a forensic accountant if necessary.
3. Consider your goals.
Since “fair share,” or equitable distribution, doesn’t mean completely equal, it’s
important to consider your goals and priorities postdivorce. This can affect how
4. Know your B.A.T.N.A.
The process of divorce is the ultimate form of negotiation, and knowing your best
alternative to an agreement (B.A.T.N.A.) protects you from accepting unfavorable
terms or rejecting an offer that is actually in your best interest.
5. Practice grace.
Divorce takes an emotional toll. Practicing grace helps you ask for what you logically
want and need while giving your soon-to-be-ex what he or she wants as well.
Words: Jacquetta M. Timmons