Divorce is rarely an easy endeavor. Yet, even when it seems impossible to reach any sort of resolution in your case, the chances are pretty good that some sort of settlement will be reached. In fact, the vast majority of cases result in negotiated resolution if for no other reason than to ensure that the parties retain control over the outcome instead of leaving important familial and financial decisions in the hands of a judge who knows nothing about the parties.
So, if you’re headed for divorce, then you need to be prepared for negotiations. This means knowing every facet of your marriage and your finances and developing a legal strategy that protects your interests. Here are some tips that you should consider before sitting down at the negotiation table:
What do you absolutely need?
There are probably going to be a few things that you need to get by in your post-divorce life. While this will certainly include a minimum amount of financial resources, it might be more concrete like a vehicle or a residence. Identify these assets so that you know where your boundaries are going into negotiations.
What does your spouse need?
Conduct that same analysis from your spouse’s point-of-view. Doing so can help you identify areas where you might have leverage to get what you want.
What do you and your spouse want?
If you can clearly articulate what you want out of your divorce and do the same for your spouse, then you can get a better sense of where the heart of your negotiations is going to lie. This analysis is imperative because it gives you direction and can help you better prepare the arguments that you need to support your position.
How quickly do you want resolution?
Divorce negotiations can certainly lead to a quicker resolution than litigation can, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s your best option. In fact, you might be able to achieve a more favorable outcome by taking your case to trial. You have to recognize, though, that litigating a divorce case can be stressful and frustrating, and it can take a lot of time, money, and energy to see it through. A lot of people don’t want to deal with the uncertainty and stress of litigation, which is one reason why so many divorces cases settle beforehand.
Is effective communication possible?
There’s a lot of emotions wrapped up in a divorce. That can make basic communication difficult. So, ask yourself how you’re going to present your position during negotiations. If you come across as too aggressive or blaming, then the talks might stall, and you could end up wasting time and money. Try to be assertive without coming across as bullying and you may see that your demands are more well received than you anticipated.
Can you and your spouse focus on interests?
A lot of negotiations are successful because they focus on the parties’ interests rather than their positions. For example, rather than focusing on which parent is going to receive physical custody of a child because both want sole physical custody, think about what is in the child’s best interests. Perhaps some sort of joint custody arrangement is best. Consider exploring your divorce legal issues from this point-of-view.
Be prepared to advocate for your position
Ultimately, preparation is key to your divorce case, whether you anticipate negotiating resolution or litigating your case. That’s why you need to know every aspect of your marriage, your finances, your child’s wellbeing, as well as any other fact that could be pertinent to your case. Then, you can apply the law in a fashion that persuasively presents your position. Hopefully then you can move into your post-divorce life with the stability and confidence that you deserve.