“If you treat every situation as a life or death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.”
As a divorce lawyer in Charleston, one of my primary responsibilities toward my clients is to help them decide what battles to fight and what issues to let go. Every case is different, so every client’s priorities will be different, but there are some guiding principles that can apply to everybody equally.
Your children are worth fighting for.
As long as you have your children’s best interests at heart, there are few child-related issues that are not worth battling over. Have you been your child’s primary custodian, but the other parent is insisting on having custody? Time to draw a line in the sand. Is your spouse trying to underreport income or otherwise minimize his or her child support obligation? Another line in the sand. Have you been an equal contributor in your child’s life, but your spouse is attempting to minimize your time with your kids? Time with your kids is always worth fighting over.
But there is always room to give. It’s not worth a battle to prevent your spouse from having dinner with the kids once a week. It may not be economically worthwhile to do months of discovery to find out your spouse is hiding a couple hundred bucks in income per month from you. Talk to your divorce lawyer in Charleston about what may or may not be worth fighting for.
Financial issues are good areas for compromise.
Seldom do both parties walk away from a Family Court case with all of their financial needs met. The increased financial pressure of now maintaining two separate households often means that there simply is no longer enough money to go around. Refusing to give ground on financial issues is a sure-fire way to extend your Family Court case and leave you spending more in attorney’s fees and costs then you stand to gain by fighting on. Keep an open mind, manage the resources you do have wisely, and be prepared to be creative, perhaps in mediation, and live to fight another day.
One financial issue that you should draw the line on is child support. Child support in South Carolina is determined by formula, a formula that is applied equally to all families in all situations. There is no reason to accept less than “guidelines child support.” Time to put your foot down and insist upon the proper calculation and full payment of support.
Another issue on which you must not accept compromise is that of retirement accounts and/or pensions. The owner of these accounts will do almost anything to not have to divide them, but any retirement account funds accumulated during the marriage are marital property subject to division. These are the assets that can allow a party the opportunity to restart his or her life after divorce, and letting go of the funds is an absolute no-no under any circumstances.
Personal property issues are seldom worth fighting over.
Who gets the china? Who gets the luggage? What about that really comfortable chair y’all picked out together and that you both love? Not worth it. Be reasonable with one another, be prepared to let some things go, even if they hold some emotional value to you, as long as you ultimately end up with a more or less fair division of property. What personal property issues are worth fighting over? You shouldn’t give up family heirlooms, property you owned previous to marriage, or a minimum amount of possessions you need to establish a new household to make your children comfortable. Each situation is different; discuss the issue with a divorce lawyer in Charleston.
These are but a few of the issues facing parties to a divorce; not all of them can be addressed here. But take away from this article the notion that you will have multiple opportunities to decide whether to dig in and fight over issues or whether to be open to compromise, and a qualified, experienced divorce lawyer in Charleston can help you decide which is which.
Call us if we can help.