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Dividing property during divorce doesn't always have to get ugly

Certain environments bring out the competitive nature in some people. It could be a hockey game at the rink or a video game between friends. It's not hard to see how a courtroom divorce could trigger that same response.

Litigation seldom brings out the best in people and what could be a simple process may become hotly contested, stressful and time-consuming. The division of property during a divorce, in particular, can turn into a bitter legal fight -- but it doesn't have to.  

Why Property Division Can Turn Contentious

You may feel that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are capable of a civilized divorce, and perhaps it's true. But when faced with a situation that either party perceives as unfair, even men and women with the best intentions can feel the need to push back. Situations like these often escalate quickly in the adversarial court environment.

Divorce law makes the basic division of property a seemingly straightforward matter. Typically, married spouses share half the value of family property and debt, with some exceptions.

In practice, however, there is often much arguing over what is separate and what is shared property, the value of certain property, and who actually gets what. The more complex a couple's property mix is, the more difficult it may be to come to a mutually acceptable settlement in court. 

Alternatives To Courtroom Divorce

As an alternative to hashing issues out in court, a divorcing couple may choose to pursue other forms of dispute resolution. There are several options to consider, including:

  • Cooperative negotiation by lawyers skilled in crafting mutual resolutions
  • Mediation with lawyers and a neutral, third-party facilitator
  • Collaborative family law involving a full team of legal, financial, social and other professionals

More than ever, people view litigation as a last resort for resolving family law issues and settling a divorce. Opting for a non-combative process can leave all affected parties, including children, in a much better place when they begin a new life after a divorce.

A lawyer experienced in the use of alternative dispute resolution may be the ideal choice for legal representation during a divorce. When the right players are involved, everyone wins.


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