In many concrete ways the dissolution of a marriage is like the dissolution of a business partnership. We examine the entity, identify its assets and liabilities; value its assets and liabilities; then divide them between the partners. While this simplistic approach assists in understanding the process, it is often bogged down in disagreement over definitions, values and timing.
Marriage dissolutions follow the identify, value and divide process explained above when it comes to the business side of the divorce, but the divorce process is further complicated by the unique psychological, emotional and financial needs of the couple and their children. The multi-faceted divorce process requires a delicate balance of interests.
Surprisingly, there is often one part of the dissolution process which is easy, and one which is hard. For example, I have handled cases where the parents stay focused on raising their children, sharing the driving, sports spectating, and educational needs quite well, under the circumstances. However, the same parents can be at war with each other in dividing the assets and liabilities. Similarly, I have handled cases where the spouses are quite resigned to the formula of dividing their assets and liabilities, but at war over the parenting plan. I see this optimistically, in that at least part of the dissolution is without conflict.
Approach the financial part of a divorce as the dissolution of a business. When possible, remove the emotion and focus on agreeing how to identify, value and divide. Disagreement is inevitable, but compromise is often reached by first understanding the imperfection of the process; second, analyzing the process from both sides; third, appreciating the time factor; and fourth, staying focused on the goals.
Hindell S. Grossman, Esq.
Grossman & Associates, Ltd.