I don’t believe it’s possible for people to collaborate on a “fair and equitable” Separation Agreement if one of the spouses is a piece of crap.
There must be a mutual level of respect and good faith on both sides for an agreement to end up fair and equitable. In situations where one of the spouses was untrustworthy or selfish during their relationship and marriage; it shouldn’t be surprising when they act that way after the separation. “Me-orientated” behaviour continues into the separation and divorce proceedings.
To put it into perspective, a spouse that wants to have “money and stuff” over having integrity will find a way to achieve that goal. A common tactic used by “money and stuff” orientated people is to place an extremely low dollar value on their own possessions, but the other person’s stuff is assigned the highest dollar value possible using inflated estimates of the market value.
Exemptions is another area where “money and stuff” people shine. Any monies that were gifted to a newlywed couple will be described as a “gift” just for one of them. Any stuff that was acquired during the relationship that has any significant value is a “gift.” If someone in the family won the lottery and divided the winnings amongst the family, those funds are described as an “inheritance” or a “loan.”
Sometimes bank accounts, investments and parcels of land are accidentally overlooked and excluded from the equalization calculations. Of course, if those items are discovered they will be explained away as an honest mistake or it’s part of the “global settlement.” A person that was willing to lie and cheat in their marriage is usually willing to lie and cheat in the separation and divorce proceedings for their benefit.
Sometimes people are commendable for recognizing that “money and stuff” is just money and stuff. It can be earned and acquired again in the future. Sometimes, it’s best just to agree to an unjust Separation Agreement in the “money and stuff” persons favour just to have a clean break from that person. It’s a trade-off to move on without the extraordinary costs and stress of trying to sort things out in a trial.
When settling outside of court with a “money and stuff” orientated person, it’s extremely important to work with an experienced lawyer and legal support team. The agreement must be prepared properly to make it binding with independent legal advice. People that skip this step could end up leaving a door open for an “entitled” spouse to come back several years later looking for the other half.