Divorces can go in one of two directions. Either the spouses amicably negotiate the terms of property division, child custody, and other issues, or they disagree and fight, requiring a judge to intervene and decide on the divorce terms.
Reaching a mutually-beneficial and fair settlement takes patience and compromise. You must go into negotiations knowing what you want but willing to bend on certain issues to resolve the case. Here, you will find negotiation strategies to keep the agreed-upon settlement fair while meeting your interests and needs.
Tips for Negotiating a Divorce Settlement
Preparing for and participating in negotiations is often stressful. Although you know divorce is the right decision, emotions can take over and cloud your judgment. You might lash out to seek revenge on your ex or allow your feelings to interfere with settlement talks.
Below are helpful tips you should follow during your divorce negotiations.
Thoroughly Review All Issues
You can’t negotiate a settlement without knowing about all the issues related to your divorce, such as marital assets and debts. Obtaining comprehensive information on your financial situation allows you to effectively discuss an agreement you and your spouse can be satisfied with.
Gathering information about your bank accounts, mortgages, and other finances with your spouse is vital. Ensuring a fair and mutually-beneficial settlement requires both parties to be fully informed of all relevant details related to the marital assets.
Leave Your Emotions at the Door
You must not let your emotions drive your decisions when you and your spouse meet to iron out the details of your divorce settlement. You should only focus on resolving the matter so you and your spouse can move forward with your lives.
Letting your emotions get the best of you isn’t productive. It can lead to poor decisions that negatively affect the outcome of your case. Crying, yelling, and name-calling will also likely make your spouse less willing to meet you halfway to reach an agreement. They might take you to court and fight for the terms they want.
Be Open to Compromise
Settlement negotiations probably won’t go your way 100 percent of the time. That means you must be willing to compromise on certain issues to settle outside of court. Compromising while meeting your needs is possible as long as you know how to approach the discussion.
Compromising doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up anything completely. You could still get what you want out of the divorce, but it might not be as much as you initially planned. You can receive what you’re entitled to without taking away what your spouse deserves.
Focus on Issues Instead of Positions
You must focus on the issues in the divorce negotiations rather than the person sitting across from you. Instead of plotting to ensure they don’t receive what they want, focus on something that benefits both of you.
Trading one asset for another is often an effective strategy. You can offer your spouse a larger share of the bank account in exchange for keeping the marital home. Or you might want primary custody of the children and offer your spouse modified child support payments in exchange.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a method of resolving disputes without involving the courts. Two types of ADR can help you reach a mutually beneficial arrangement while avoiding litigation.
Collaborative divorce means settling the case in a non-adversarial way. You and your spouse must stop legal proceedings already filed with the court before entering into a collaborative divorce. Each of you can hire a Divorce Lawyer to represent you during negotiations.
Typically, the process requires multiple meetings to discuss the issues and decide on a fair agreement that meets everyone’s needs. You can bring in third parties to provide you and your spouse with helpful advice and information for each meeting, such as:
- Financial planner
Mediation is another type of ADR. However, the process differs from collaborative divorce. You and your spouse meet with a neutral party to negotiate the divorce terms you can’t seem to agree on. A mediator facilitates conversations between you and offers suggestions on resolving the matter.
Mediators can’t decide on the issues or enter legal judgments. Their job is to help you and your spouse communicate with each other effectively and find a way to work through your disagreements.
If mediation is successful, the mediator can prepare a written agreement to file with a proposed final divorce decree for a judge to review and approve.
Get Help with Your Divorce from an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Anchor Legal Group, PLLC knows how to address divorce issues during settlement negotiations. We will protect your rights and fight for your desired outcome.
Call us at 757-529-0000 for a consultation with a Virginia Beach Divorce Attorney today if you’re going through a divorce and need assistance with negotiations.