Knowing When to Turn Down Money in Divorce

Many people going through a divorce end up in dispute over money.  Yes, one side may have cheated or lied or done any number of bad things. However, once the case starts, the issues relating to money often come to the forefront.

 

In many situations, individuals turn down money in divorce. As an example, British actor Russell Brand and Katy Perry married in October of 2010 and divorced 14 months later.  Despite being in show business and presumably having legal counsel who could explain the positive aspects of a prenuptial agreement, they never got one.  That means when Perry earned approximately $40 million during the marriage, Brand became entitled to half of it.

 

Brand turned it down.  Though popular culture would seem to categorize Brand as self-indulgent, he chose to forego the money and resolve the case quickly.

 

The willingness to give up one’s rights to money is honorable and sometimes a very smart choice in an Arizona divorce case, as well.

It’s important to ask yourself several questions when you’re facing money issues related to a divorce:

 

 

1. Do you need the money?

 

Sure, you could stand to have more money to spend on something to make you forget about your divorce.  Maybe a fast car, jet-ski or hang glider?

 

These things might sound good, but no possessions, regardless of how dangerous and cool, will make you feel better in the long term. Seeking more money to buy frivolous things only may make the pain of the divorce more pronounced.  Life experience helps you move on.  There’s no better way to move on than to set out on your own.

 

Of course, getting a buffer to make that transition easier can be important, as well. This is where an award of spousal maintenance (alimony) could be appropriate.

 

 

2. Are you seeking money out of spite?

 

Yes, your ex is horrible and evil. By seeking money from such a bad person only out of spite, you might want to consider whether there are any parts of yourself you could improve. If your ex is such a bad person, don’t let him/her bring you down to their level.  Get the money you need and get away.

 

Assess what your reasonable needs will be in the future and, if your divorce assets permit, make sure you get awarded enough of it to meet those needs. Judges will be more likely to understand you wanting more money to meet your needs as supported by the evidence you will present.

 

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3. How quickly do you want to be done with your case?

 

The more you argue, the longer the case will last.  No one wants the unnecessary cost of going to trial, but quite often, cases settle just before trial after attorneys have spent lots of your money filing multiple motions and exchanging/reviewing documents.  While these steps might be necessary, many disputes don’t need to drag out if the parties can reach an agreement.

 

If you are interested in reaching an agreement with your ex, consider mediation or collaborative divorce as an option.

 

 

4. Is it worth the legal expense?

 

Divorce can cost a considerable amount of money.  When you’re seeking a money award, you have to remember to look at the cost/benefit of seeking funds.  You may feel entitled to the money. If you end up spending more than half of that award to cover the legal fees used to get the award, then you might want to consider cutting your losses.

 

In negotiating a financial settlement offer in your case, balance the amount you have to gain versus what you want to spend getting it.

 

Besides asking yourself these questions and reviewing them with your attorney, consulting with a financial analyst or accountant could help you in your decision-making process, as well.

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