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Gilmer Law Firm, PLLC

Monday, May 5, 2014

Negotiating a Fair New York City Divorce Settlement

Whether your split is amicable or acrimonious, consulting with an experienced New York City divorce attorney to negotiate a fair settlement agreement can be in everyone's best interest. Even in a bitter separation, a fair agreement can help to neutralize the tension, which is especially important in cases where children are involved.

Recently, the New York City divorce settlement of former Governor Eliot Spitzer resulted in a $7.5 million lump sum award to his ex-wife, Silda, reportedly as part of a postnuptial agreement. She will also be allowed to remain in the family home and her living expenses, which include a housekeeper and healthcare, will be maintained. In addition, she will receive $100,000 annually to mete out to charitable organizations of her choice, and she will be paid $240,000 annually either until she remarries or dies.

The couple, who met at Harvard and married in the late 1980s, have three adult daughters together. She had stood by her husband during his concession that he'd patronized a high-end prostitution ring. They filed for divorce in January.

The fact that these two have a long marital history and were still able to negotiate an agreeable divorce settlement within a matter of months speaks first to the power of postnuptial agreements and secondly to what is possible when two parties are willing to compromise.

While it may seem that the former governor conceded a great deal to his ex, one must consider that he has a substantial amount of wealth. Also, his attorney's fees for a drawn-out battle would have likely been significant and the length of the union would likely have meant that the courts would have favored Silda anyway. Plus, both parties don't want to do anything to further mar their reputation, as both continue to serve public roles.

Divorce negotiations often deal with a host of interrelated issues. It's not just about money. It's not just about property. It's not even just about the kids. So many intense emotions may come into play, and we understand that what matters immensely to one person might not matter to another. It's important to find a middle ground.

We recognize that while that might not be possible with every couple - some may need to take serious matters to court -  there can be a lot of benefits to negotiating. Here are some indications that negotiation (as opposed to litigation) might make the most sense for you:

  • You and your spouse are able to communicate. You may not be best buddies, but you can talk about the kids, finances and other issues.
  • You're both interested in minimizing the overall costs of the divorce process.
  • You still respect one another. You may no longer be in love, but you don't hate one another and may even believe it could one day be possible to be friends.
  • Privacy is important to both of you. Keep in mind that if you take your case to court, whatever paperwork you file will be subject to public record.

It's not a decision you necessarily need to rush. Discussing your options with an experienced divorce attorney can help you be more effective during the settlement negotiation process.

If you are contemplating a divorce in New York City, call our offices at (718) 864-2011.

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