How to Negotiate a Divorce Settlement with Your Spouse
Written by Steven Keist

How to Negotiate a Divorce Settlement with Your Spouse

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Most attorneys will try to convince you that negotiating a divorce on your own is a bad idea. That is because it is their job (and their training) to negotiate for you. In many cases, you should seriously consider hiring a lawyer when negotiating a divorce settlement, but believe it or not, it’s not always necessary. Litigated divorce can be very expensive and even couples that have lawyers commonly wind up negotiating aspects of the case themselves anyways. Negotiating a divorce settlement might not work for every couple, but in certain circumstances, working directly with your spouse can save you time and money.

Negotiating a divorce agreement with your spouse can be tough, but it may be an option to avoid paying the high costs of hiring a divorce attorney and having your lawyer negotiate for you.

Once you consult with an attorney to understand your legal rights, obligations and options, you may decide to communicate with your spouse directly about resolving the issues in your divorce. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when you attempt to negotiate a settlement agreement with your spouse.

  1. Know What You Owe and Own

It’s a good idea to check into your financial situation before even considering negotiating your divorce settlement. If you are not sure about your financial situation, you can ask your spouse to sit down with you and share information so you both understand what will need to be addressed in order to reach a settlement. You can also reach out to a financial expert before negotiating finances. That way you can understand what you owe and what you own.

  1. Be Willing to Compromise

Never take the hard-bargaining approach to negotiation. Bringing an uncompromising attitude to a divorce negotiation will get you nowhere fast. In most cases, an all-or-nothing approach leads to impasse, which then causes a breakdown of the negotiations. Consider whether you can live with a result that satisfies both parties. If you aren’t willing to compromise, your issue may be decided by a judge, with a less favorable result for both spouses. Ask your lawyer if you are being unrealistic with your demands. If your attorney says you are being unrealistic, believe them!

  1. List Your Needs and Wants

Consider in advance what you feel like you “need” separate and apart from what you “want.”  Entering into an agreement that doesn’t hit every item on your wish list may not feel “fair,” but if you’ve considered a variety of outcomes in advance, you will be more able to determine whether enough of your needs are met to feel comfortable with the outcome. Preparing a draft of a parenting schedule or a household budget may help you to be more prepared to have the conversation.

  1. Be Kind and Work Together

Preserving a cordial relationship with your soon-to-be ex can be very beneficial, especially if you have children together. Even after your romantic relationship ends, you will still be the parents  of your children, and you will need to follow a parenting plan with them in the future.. You don’t have to pretend to be friends if that’s not the path your “new normal” relationship is going to take, but treating your former spouse with courtesy and respect will make the negotiation process easier for both of you.

  1. Know When to Walk Away

If you are ready to cooperate and compromise but your spouse isn’t, negotiating a settlement without attorneys may not be your best course of action. Sometimes letting a professional handle your negotiation will help you to secure an appropriate settlement. Sometimes, letting a judge decide is the only way to get a reasonable result.

Negotiating a divorce settlement without legal representation is not for everyone. If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable negotiating for yourself, you and your spouse can always choose a mediator to work with both of you to try to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome. Collaborative divorce is another option to resolve your divorce with the help of trained, experienced collaborative divorce professionals.

Negotiating a divorce settlement without legal representation is not for everyone. If you can’t or don’t feel comfortable negotiating for yourself, you and your spouse can always choose a mediator to work with both of you to try to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome. Collaborative divorce is another option to resolve your divorce with the help of trained, experienced collaborative divorce professionals.

Sources:

  1. Covy, Karen. “How to Negotiate Your Divorce Without Losing Your Shirt.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 28 Aug. 2016, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-negotiate-your-div_b_8056402.
  2. Karen Covy, et al. “10 Negotiation Strategies: Negotiating a Divorce Settlement That’s Fair.” Karen Covy, 3 July 2019, https://karencovy.com/10-tips-for-how-to-negotiate-with-your-ex-or-soon-to-be-ex/.

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Speak with Our Divorce Mediators In Arizona Today!

While the divorce mediation process is not for everyone, this process can save you money, stress, and hassle. Speak with a divorce mediator to find out if divorce mediation is right for your family. Many of the professionals on BestLegalChoices.com are also divorce mediators and can provide you with a great deal of information about your options.

COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE IS ANOTHER PEACEFUL DIVORCE OPTION

Divorce litigation can be scary and emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. One of the legalfinancial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.