should you negotiate your divorce?

Negotiating your divorce with your spouse can save you a huge amount of time and money. At the same time, direct negotiation isn’t for everyone. If you want to give it a go, follow the rules laid out in this article. Consult with your divorce team. And, above all, be prepared.

In most cases, negotiating a divorce settlement isn’t rocket science.  You can learn how to negotiate a fair divorce settlement without getting a PhD from Harvard. At the same time, if you have complicated finances or enormously difficult parenting issues to deal with, then you may want to leave the lion’s share of your divorce negotiation to the divorce professionals. With that being said, I always remind clients that I think having a goal of a fair settlement and one you can live with is important.

The Dangers of Negotiating for Yourself

Of course, negotiating for yourself can be dangerous. If you can’t speak up for yourself, or you can’t stand up to your spouse, then negotiating a fair divorce settlement becomes next to impossible. If you don’t understand your finances and aren’t willing to learn what they are and how they work, then negotiating for yourself could be financially disastrous.

What’s more, if you try to negotiate when you don’t know HOW to negotiate, or you don’t know what your legal rights and responsibilities are, you can end up giving away the farm without even realizing it.

In the end, that’s what everyone is most afraid of.

They’re afraid they’ll lose their shirt in a divorce negotiation because they’ll get taken advantage of and make big mistakes. The problem is that most people WILL end up negotiating with their spouse at some point about some things. For example, you probably will directly negotiate the way you divide up the stuff that’s in your house. You may negotiate who gets which car.

You may also end up directly negotiating many of the issues surrounding your kids. For example, you may be able to work out your parenting schedule and vacation time yourself, without getting the lawyers involved. Even if you don’t negotiate any “kid issues” yourself at first, you will do so later.

Countless scheduling changes and parenting issues arise whenever you’re raising kids with anyone. To think that you won’t have to negotiate any of those issues with your soon-to-be-ex is unrealistic.

What’s more, if your divorce starts dragging on, and your legal fees start skyrocketing, you may find yourself negotiating most of your divorce issues yourself just so you can finally get your divorce behind you! This is when mistakes are made, merely out of desperation. Since you WILL have to negotiate with your spouse at some point, learning a few negotiation techniques now is critically important. Having even basic negotiation skills will serve you well both during your divorce and long after.

The Benefits Of Settling Out of Court

Not all divorcing couples can look past their anger and work out their issues. Even with a neutral third party to help negotiate the issues, some couples simply can’t reach common ground. Some of the hardest cases are ones where there has been infidelity or domestic violence. However, for those who can enter into a settlement agreement, there are multiple benefits and rarely a downside.

You Will Save Time By Entering Into an Agreement

When couples choose to fight in the courts to get what they want from the remnants of their marriage, the divorce process can drag on for months or even years. Parties on each side can end up in an endless loop of filing and responding to paperwork. Instead of getting to the end of the process, you may feel as though you are in an endless state of waiting.

You Will Save Money

Every time your attorney files or responds to paperwork, you will pay the legal fees for that service. You will also pay for court hearings and any other work your attorney must do on your behalf. When the process finally ends in a divorce trial, you may have spent several thousand dollars. Out-of-court settlements are much less expensive than court divorces.

 A Mutual Agreement Will Cut Down On Stress

One of the biggest benefits of an uncontested divorce is that you will feel less pressure and stress. You can commit at the beginning to work out your issues, and if you work through your issues in good faith, you will avoid many of the negative feelings people associate with divorce and be a good example to your children.

You Will Have the Satisfaction of Knowing You Worked Out Your Issues

Getting divorced can feel like giving up. When you work through your issues with your ex-spouse, you can feel the satisfaction of knowing that you have managed to handle issues that looked overwhelming in the beginning. The chaos will begin to subside, and you can start to reclaim the power you feel you lost when your marriage ended.

Going to Court Can Be Unpredictable

Even if the issues seem cut and dry, you are always taking a chance when you go to Court. A judge can be unpredictable, and honestly, I always say “the family court is not a good place to be, especially if you’re a man.” If you have already negotiated a fair settlement, you will know what to expect.