Even though marriage dissolution can be highly contentious, most divorces end in some sort of negotiated settlement. This type of resolution avoids the costs associated with litigating a case, and a lot of people feel like negotiating a settlement gives them some sort of control over the process and the outcome. That’s no small thing considering that important divorce legal issues, such as child custody and property division, are otherwise left in the hands of a judge who knows nothing more about the family than what is presented to him or her in the form of evidence. But before you jump into negotiating your divorce case, you need to know what you can do to position yourself as strongly as possible.
Divorce negotiation tips
You shouldn’t go into your divorce negotiations without a plan. Instead, consider the tips below to come up with a strategy that works best for you.
- Know what you need and what you want: Before you start talks, you need to know where you want to get. By identifying where you can give and where you can’t, you can shape your negotiations to drive them toward your goals. You have to be honest with yourself here, though, and you can’t be unreasonable.
- Know what your spouse needs and what he or she wants: Conducting the same analysis for your spouse allows you to identify where you have leverage to get what you want and direct negotiations on those tough issues where you both need the same thing.
- Don’t be overly aggressive: Regardless of the history between you and your spouse, you should try not to bring your emotions to the negotiation table. You also shouldn’t come off as too aggressive. Doing either of these things can just stall talks and make it harder for you to get what you want.
- Have a trial strategy: One of the best ways to negotiate any case is to be prepared for trial. By preparing for trial, you’ll know what you can prove and what you can’t, which can help guide you as you try to maneuver during negotiations to get what you want.
You don’t have to tackle negotiations on your own
A lot of people try to negotiate their divorce settlements on their own. But this is risky, especially if you don’t have a strong understanding of the law. So, if you don’t want to be taken advantage of during divorce negotiations, then you might want to have help from a family law attorney who knows how to handle these types of cases.