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What are the most contentious topics in divorce?

A divorce can become contentious for many reasons. Perhaps both parents want sole custody of the children. Perhaps one spouse does not want to get divorced at all. Or, maybe parents cannot agree on the true value of their home; one person wants to sell the house and the other wants to keep it. When people's expectations and desires do not line up, it can get complicated.

Understanding the most common contentious items can help you prepare for this type of legal battle. According to a survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, which was carried out in 2016, the top items that people disagree about are:

  • Alimony payments
  • Pensions and retirement accounts
  • Business interests

That's not to say that they do not fight over child support issues or other types of property division, but they're simply not as common. The three issues listed above crop up in many divorce proceedings. The survey showed that alimony issues happened in a full 83 percent of cases, for example. It was slightly lower for business interests at 60 percent and for pensions or retirement plans, at 62 percent, but those are still strong showings. These are issues many couples have and they must get sorted out properly.

Are you heading toward divorce? Do you worry that it will grow contentious when you try to divide assets, based largely on alimony obligations, retirement accounts or business interests? If so, you are certainly not alone, and it is very important for you to fully understand all of your legal rights and the steps you need to take to protect yourself and your future.

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