How To Effectively Negotiate Your Own Divorce by Josh Frodsham
Among the countless difficult aspects of divorce is the expense and time the process takes. Court proceedings can be very costly and time consuming, so for this reason, some couples attempt to negotiate certain parts or even all of their divorce settlement.
Although every divorce case is unique, some attorneys recommend that a couple negotiate their settlement before and/or during the divorce process in an attempt to get closer to a resolution, thereby causing the process to go quicker, more smoothly and of course, less expensive.
The following tips are for those considering negotiating their own divorce:
1. Understand what you want out of the negotiations
Write down what you would like your divorce settlement to look like. You will most likely have to compromise in some areas in order to reach an agreement with your spouse, but having an ‘ideal scenario’ to begin with can provide a starting point in your discussions.
2. Decide the forum for which you want to negotiate
Consider how and where it would be best for you to begin negotiations with your spouse. Some couples feel comfortable talking face-to-face, whereas others prefer distance and would rather talk over the telephone or via email.
3. Consider how a judge would rule
When you are in negotiations with your spouse, it is important to consider how a judge would decide your settlement if you were in court proceedings. This will give you a framework to work within and will help you to think about what a ‘fair’ settlement would look like. Many people seek this kind of advice from their attorney, who has a better idea of how judges would rule on certain issues.
4. Understand that you still need a solicitor (an attorney).
It is always a good idea to seek the advice of an attorney throughout the process so that you know you are getting a fair and enforceable settlement. Additionally, any agreement that you do come to with your spouse will need to be made into a court order, which requires representation from a solicitor (attorney.)
Can I get my solicitor to negotiate for me?
In the instance that you find you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement or it is simply too stressful to talk to each other, you can ask your attorney to negotiate with your spouse’s attorney on your behalf. Many times, divorcing couples start the negotiations to get a framework of the settlement and let their attorneys finish the process to ensure that the settlement is fair and enforceable.
Complex finances can benefit from solicitor-to-solicitor negotiations
Additionally, if you or your spouse are high net worth individuals, with international assets or investments or otherwise complex finances, it is advisable to speak to a specialist divorce solicitor who can advise you and negotiate on your behalf.
Keep in mind that you can stop court proceedings at any time before the final hearing if you decide to negotiate your own divorce and you and your ex-spouse reach an agreement. It isn’t always easy to negotiate your own divorce, especially when emotions are running high and there is resentment, anger and bitterness involved. But if you are able to do it, you will find your divorce will not only take less time, but will be a lot less expensive.
This post was written by Josh Frodsham, a law graduate and freelance writer who wrote it on behalf of the UK based law firm, Austin Kemp.