Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A (NOT SO) Simple Equation To Calculate What Your Case Is Worth.

A while ago, Jimmy Buffet wrote a song called "Math Sucks", a sentiment shared by many mathphobes.  But math probably never sucked harder than when it is being used to deconstruct your life and reduce years of memories and hard work down to such a feeble thing as a raw number.  But when you are involved in a divorce, getting the right number is critical in determining whether you will come out ok, or getting financially destroyed.  Now that REALLY would suck.

If your attorney is a good one, he is getting your case ready for the worst possible scenario and will be busily preparing your case for trial- that is the ultimate goal of his efforts.  However, the client’s calculations should be geared towards settlement, as that is often the most favorable result.  So how can you decide if a settlement offer is a good one or not?  Once again we have to turn to our old "frien-emy": math.

Knowing the total value of your property is the first and hardest step but unfortunately, it is not the only part of the equation.  You should also add in the costs of litigation to your calculation. So when you are considering whether to accept a settlement offer, you can use the following formula.

Total value of assets you think the judge will award you  -  the total amount of debt you think the judge will award you -litigation fees (Legal fees + Expert fees + other costs + time missed from work + mental health costs + time value of money)  < settlement offer.

In other words, if the value of the settlement offer is more than what you think the judge would award you LESS all the costs of litigation, you should take the offer.  

Obviously there are lots of variables in this equation and the values for each of these may be constantly changing.  But that is why the help of a good attorney team is essential to helping you decide if a settlement offer is even in the ballpark and even worth considering.