Dividing property during a separation or divorce can be a challenging and emotionally charged process. We talked to Amanda Donovan, Director at Haigh Lyon Lawyers, who shares her top five tips for navigating the division of property in a divorce.
Seek a Specialist Lawyer
Amanda’s first piece of advice is clear: when dealing with property division, you should seek the expertise of a specialist lawyer. While it might be tempting to turn to a family friend who practices law, especially one like “Uncle Bob,” it’s important to work with an attorney who specialises in family law and property division. Family law is a complex and constantly evolving field, and having a specialist lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
Organise Your Documents
A key aspect of property division is dealing with paperwork related to your assets. Amanda emphasises the importance of having all your financial documents in order. This includes everything from property deeds and mortgage statements to bank account records and retirement savings information. Organising your documents can save you time and money in legal fees, as your lawyer will need to review these materials to help you make informed decisions.
Understand Emotional Dynamics
Divorce or separation can be emotionally charged, and Amanda highlights the significance of understanding and managing these emotions during the process. It’s essential to recognise that both parties may not be at the same stage emotionally, with one person potentially having already accepted the end of the relationship while the other is just beginning to grapple with it. Navigating negotiations when one party is still emotionally invested can be costly and difficult. It’s important to keep lines of communication open and consider counselling or mediation to facilitate productive discussions.
Mediation is a valuable tool in property division cases. It involves bringing in a neutral third party to help both parties reach a resolution. Mediation can be more cost-effective and quicker than going to court, and it allows for a more collaborative approach to resolving disputes. If you find yourselves at an impasse, mediation may be an effective way to break the deadlock and find common ground.
Focus on the Big Picture
Lastly, Amanda advises keeping the big picture in mind when negotiating property division. While it’s natural to get caught up in the details, such as who gets the fridge or the dishwasher, remember that lawyers’ fees can quickly add up. Instead of arguing over minor items, consider a fair and practical approach where each party selects items of importance to them, whether they hold significant monetary or sentimental value.
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