Whether you left or someone left you, here’s your to do list.
#1. Buy two memory sticks with heaps of memory.
You will make a due diligence investigation and you need to store the information somewhere and you need to back it up for when chaos reigns.
You and your ex are going to come to a deal. Even if you end up in court, less than ten per cent of cases end up in a judgment. Every business deal starts with due diligence i.e. everyone knows what they’re getting into. The same goes for your financial settlement.
Before you go out the door or get cut off from the electronic banking details and email passwords copy everything you can. It’s not sneaky and it’s not wrong. Either you do it or your lawyer does it later at the hourly rate. It’s going to happen. You’re going to cough up your details and so is your ex.
(So for heaven’s sake, change all your passwords and get your snail mail delivered to a post office box, especially when you hire your own lawyer.)
#2. Remember you are playing a zero sum game.
There is one pot to be divided. It’s not going to get bigger. What you get the other side loses and vice versa. Don’t pursue anything that promises to make the pot bigger. Spend the least amount of money on lawyers and investigations you judge to be correct. Every cent spent on the fight makes the pot smaller.
George McEncroe talks to Meshel Laurie about Tinder, divorce, kids and dating. Post continues after audio.
#3. Work out where you’re going to live.
This is probably different to where you would like to live. How much money is it going to take to get there? Talk to a mortgage broker or rental property manager and an accountant to see what’s doable. As soon as you see a “good enough” deal on the table from your ex you can go there and then – and stop reducing the pot. Remember the court/lawyer process is about two years long if there’s a fight. A “good enough” deal taken early on gets you started again, maybe months or even years ahead of schedule.
#4. Put yourself in your ex’s shoes.
You can see what sort of a deal is going to work. If you have been left, there is probably a deal of guilt on the other side. This gives you leverage. Cut a realistic deal early on. If you go for revenge, you’ll like smash your leverage.
If you initiated the separation, be business like. Put realistic deals. Do it yourself negotiating can be problematic because your ex is angry and or in denial. When you are “nice” in negotiations your ex might perceive this as a step to reconciliation. When you make it clear there will be no reconciliation your ex will be angrier and less negotiable than ever.
Use a mediator to structure the conversation into deal making and not relationship mending. Check your lawyer’s letters over before they are sent. Maybe they are legally correct but how is the other side going to react? Use your judgment and your editor’s red pen if you think a letter will hurt or inflame.