If you’re worried about the prospect of airing the intimate details of your marriage in court in front of a judge whom you don’t know, you might take comfort in the fact that most divorces resolve through negotiation without ever having to be litigated. With that said, there’s going to be plenty of back and forth in your settlement negotiations. To achieve the best outcome possible, you need to be prepared for the challenges ahead of you.
But how do you do that, especially if you’ve never been divorced before? Let’s take a closer look.
Tips for effectively negotiating your divorce settlement
There’s actually a lot that you can do to prepare for your divorce negotiations. Here are some of the more important steps that you can take:
- Know your assets: You’re not going to be able to effectively advocate for what you deserve during the property division process if you don’t know the extent of the marital estate. Therefore, you’ll want to take stock of what you and your spouse own. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for signs that your spouse may be hiding assets from you, such as receiving bills on new accounts and seeing large but unexplained expenditures from joint accounts.
- Know your liabilities: Although a lot of divorce is focused on the division of marital assets, you and your spouse will also have to figure out how to divide marital debts. Here, you’ll want to make sure that you have an understanding of the debts in play so that you don’t end up being stuck with more debt than you deserve.
- Identify your goals: You need to know what you want out of your divorce before you sit down at the negotiation table. By identifying the things that you’ll need post-divorce, you can build a framework for your negotiation strategy. Just be realistic here so that you’re not being so stiff that you leave no room for negotiation.
- Identify your spouse’s goals: If you’re able to identify your spouse’s goals, you can develop a stronger negotiation strategy because you’ll be better suited to identify win-win situations. You might also be able to leverage certain assets to get what you want out of the divorce.
- Find the right tone: Coming across too aggressively during your negotiations can stall talks by causing your spouse to shut down. You don’t want that, but you also don’t want to give in to all of your spouse’s demands. That’s why it’s important to strike the right tone. Being respectful but firm while using a business-like tone is effective for many who enter divorce negotiations.
- Be willing to compromise: Although you might have certain positions that you want to firmly adhere to, you shouldn’t be so rigid in your position that you can’t find any common ground with your spouse. If you take a hard line on everything, your case is bound to head to trial where you likely won’t get everything you want anyway. So, try to find where you’re willing to compromise to strike a balance in your divorce negotiations.
Are ready to advocate for the future that you want?
If so, you need to formulate the strong legal strategy that you need on your side to protect your interests and your future. That’s not always as easy as it sounds, which is why now is the time to start working on it. Also, don’t be afraid to find the support that you need to get through the process, as it can be emotionally tiring and stressful. Hopefully, you can find firm footing as you move into the next chapter of your life.