How to get the best divorce settlement in a bad economy

This economy is killing everybody, especially people who are getting divorced. In fact, many people are choosing to stay in bad marriages rather than file for divorce right now. But others who are in an unbearably unworkable situation are going ahead and filing in spite of the tough times. But how can they get the best settlement when the market value of everything they own has hit the floor?
Well, I would suggest using negotiation strategies rather than adversarial ones when possible. This is not the time to have drag down dog fights, but rather, it is the time to sit down and reasonably negotiate with each other, with the aid of your attorneys. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of wisdom in creating bad blood and spending tons of money on trials which in the end will probably yield exactly what you would get if you sat down and talked through this matter like mature adults. I don’t mean to sound like I am giving  lecture, but I really think that now more than ever, couples have to learn how to use negotiation techniques.
Timing is everything. At the end of the day, if this is not the best time for you to get a divorce, don’t file right now if you can hold off for a little while longer. Maybe the new Administration’s stimulus package will rev up the economy again (maybe!) and your house and other assets may start to increase in value. So one of the strategies you ought to think about using is that of “timing your divorce.” I did a post about that subject way back. You can read it here: Because sometimes, it just isn’t fiscally smart to file for a divorce at the time you are contemplating filing. Sometimes, it’s plain a dumb idea to file at a particular interval of time, and a better time would be more ideal. Sometimes you need to wait in order to get the best settlement. Read this other post about filing for divorce in a bad economy:
Another issue to consider is whether you know what you have. By that I mean the assets in the marriage. If you don’t know what you have it is hard to inform the attorney about it, and so it will impact the kind of settlement you walk away with. Sometimes it is difficult to know what you have because some spouses (husbands in particular, sorry guys) are very good at manipulating accounts and hiding assets such as real estate. If a wife is not all that savvy with respect to these matters it can slip right by her.  I mean, you can always spend money on people who locate assets, you can get a private investigator, things like that. But personally knowing, and having taken an active role in the marriage and in the building and accumulating of assets goes a long way. Stay in the know! It will help you get a much better settlement if things don’t work out.
Another idea is to agree with your spouse that you will both distribute certain assets when the market picks up – such as real estate and stocks. You can stipulate to that. So in other words, the distribution of assets can take place at a later time, after the judgment of divorce. But your stipulation better be very clear about terms, and consequences and things like that. The last thing you want are any surprises. But you do have to be somewhat risk tolerant. You may be holding out for a better return, but you have to accept the possibility that that simply may never happen. It’s a chance you take. It’s the luck of the draw at this point.