Most divorce cases end up resolving through settlement negotiations well before they get to the point that they need to be litigated in court. While that may save you some time and headaches, negotiating resolution to your divorce can still be enormously stressful. And if you let your emotions get the best of you, you could end up misplacing your fights, which might lead to missed opportunities and lost post-divorce stability.
Therefore, as you prepare to go into your marriage dissolution negotiations, you should take the time necessary to slow down and think through your strategy. After all, if you go into your settlement talks without a plan, your spouse could take advantage of you, leaving you without the resources that you deserve.
Tips for negotiating divorce settlement
We know that you probably want to avoid conflict in your divorce as much as possible. But you also want to fully protect your interests. Fortunately, you can do both by implementing the following strategies:
- Filter communications: Face-to-face contact with your spouse may lead to heated exchanges and rushed outcomes. This can be dangerous. So, try finding alternative means of communication that slow you down and force you to think through your response. While communicating in writing is a great way to do this, so, too, is communicating through your divorce attorney. Doing so can also help ensure that your communications are focused on addressing the legal issues before you.
- Understand your short-term and long-term needs: To reach a favorable outcome in your divorce, you’re going to have to fully understand what you need moving forward. You’ll want to be realistic and honest with yourself so that you can tailor your arguments well. Your focus here may be on your share of the marital estate, but it might also include child custody, child support, and alimony requests.
- Strike the right tone: We know that the divorce process can be highly emotional, but you don’t want to portray that too much in your divorce, as it can quickly cause negotiations to spiral out of control. Therefore, to remain in control of the settlement talks, you should try your best to strike a professional, business-like tone so that you can keep talks on course.
- Find common ground: This is easier said than done, but dig deep to see if there’s anything that you and your spouse can agree upon. If you can, this is a great starting point to kick off negotiations. If not, you might want to see if there are small concessions that you can make that are unimportant to you but may cause your spouse to back off with aggressiveness aimed at other more important issues.
- Don’t back down: Although negotiation is about finding resolution that is fair and acceptable to all parties involved, you shouldn’t be quick to back down from what you want. Try to stand firm on your positions and only change your position if you can find a comfortable way to do so that still protects your interests.
Don’t get railroaded in your settlement negotiations
Far too many people who go through divorce try to resolve the matter as quickly as possible, which puts them at risk of being subjected to haphazardly thrown together agreement terms that are contrary to their best interests. You don’t want that to happen to you, which is why you might want to discuss your situation with an attorney who understands what you’re going through and how to fight for the outcome that you deserve and will help you achieve post-divorce success.