Don’t let loose lips sabotage your success!
The kitchentabledivorce approach is one which encourages open, honest and transparent communication between separated spouses as an alternative to costly scorched earth legal proceedings.
But there are limits. And as the following real life example demonstrates, talking with your ex before you know your own legal rights can cause big problems when trying to reach a final settlement.
A spouse came to see me for independent legal advice before signing a Separation Agreement prepared by counsel for her ex. I reviewed the agreement and advised her that the spousal support terms were grossly unfair considering the long, (25) year nature of the marriage, and the significant disparity in incomes. Husband’s income was roughly six times that of spouse.
Not only was the monthly amount of proposed spousal support thousands of dollars less than appropriate in accordance with the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, but the term of support was incredibly short (3 years), rather than “indefinite” subject to review.
Accordingly, I advised spouse to consider re-negotiating spousal support terms. Spouse appeared initially relieved. Unfortunately, spouse then recalled earlier discussion with husband regarding support. Now faced with the awkward position of either attempting to seek fairness and upsetting ex or accepting grossly unfair terms, she decides to simply accept the inequality.
Would it have made a difference, before spousal support numbers were thrown around like cheap confetti, if the spouse had obtained legal advice before talking with her ex? I think it would have provided a critical reality check, resulting in much improved terms of support.
So before you meet to sit around the kitchen table to talk legal issues with your ex get some good family law advice to understand your legal rights.
It doesn’t require a major financial investment in legal costs, and best of all, you won’t sabotage your future settlement success, or peace of mind in the process.