4 Things to Bear in Mind When Negotiating a Divorce Settlement

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Divorce is usually a highly emotional and costly experience. When it is contested, the level of stress and expenses can skyrocket. That’s why spouses – or judges if the parties are unflinching – insist on solving the case through a divorce settlement.

Ideally, a mediator or lawyers should facilitate parties in their conflicts and help them come to an agreement as peacefully as they can. However, the fees for legal assistance continue to grow, and many couples are forced to go through divorce negotiations on their own.

How to negotiate a divorce settlement with your spouse without a legal assistant? What questions should you ask during the negotiations? How to behave when discussing divorce issues? If you’re asking yourself these questions, learn 4 things to bear in mind when negotiating a divorce settlement with your spouse.

Emotions Can Leave You with Nothing

Emotions are the worst enemies of divorce negotiations. They don’t let you think straight and make good decisions but only reveal your insecurities and grudges.

The first rule of success during divorce settlement negotiations is: leave your emotions behind the closed door. It’s highly important to be calm and focused during the conversation. You shouldn’t raise your voice, interrupt your partner, or plan revenge. Otherwise, you can miss critical information or bury all the chances to come to an agreement.

Think of what triggers negative emotions in you. Your spouse may intentionally or accidentally try to throw you off balance, so you must be ready to dodge the attack.

A good idea is to ask a friend to fake a divorce settlement process with you – better someone who knows your spouse. Let them intentionally tell you hurtful things, ask awkward questions, or play your feelings – if it’s common for your ex-to-be – for training purposes. It will help you learn your weak points and turn them into strengths. So when you’re all alone with the opponent, you will stay level and confident.

Knowledge is Power

Do you know how property is divided in Georgia? Or who will have the final word when choosing the school for your kid? Divorce negotiations are easier when you are well aware of legal details concerning your case. Don’t take your spouse’s word on trust as they might twist the facts. Don’t rely on your friend’s experience as the situations and people are different. Find out yourself!

Ideally, read the law to figure out how different conflicts are settled in Georgia. However, you may study forums and law firm blog articles to receive a brief summary of the same. As an option, you can pay a consultation with a divorce attorney who will explain your divorce situation and advise you on a winning strategy.

A Detailed Planning is a Half of Success

When entering the negotiation room, you should clearly understand that any negotiations are about finding a compromise. You must know what to ask for in a divorce settlement. But you should also be ready to give up something for the settlement agreement to work.

Detailed planning can help with that. The obligatory issues to discuss include marital home, insurance, debts, family heirlooms, child visitation and support, school tuition, and pets. You have to discuss who takes the house or how it will be split between you two. If your spouse has been covering your health insurance and getting a personal health plan is too expensive for you, perhaps you can offer something in exchange to stay in his plan. You might also want equal parenting time but don’t mind to refuse from child support in exchange for something else.

To cut the long story short, you need a well-structured plan that would reflect all the things you want written down and prioritized. Then, you will know what you can offer to your spouse when the exchange moment comes up.

Effective Communication is the Other Half

It’s a well-known fact that not only the meaning of the message matters but also how you communicate it. You should understand well that your spouse is also a person with their own insecurities, grudges, aspirations, and point of view. Your emotional performance may be heard differently from what you expected to communicate.

Therefore, try to voice your message in a clear and concise manner. Use simple, short sentences. Avoid negation and complicated, pompous words. Talk about what you want, need, or offer rather than complaining, refusing, or denying. Show your willingness to find a compromise and voice out your proposal if your partner is passive about their demands.

Don’t rush. The goal of a divorce settlement meeting is that both parties could talk about their demands, offer alternatives, and discuss different divorce scenarios. You don’t need to give the answer right away. If there is something you need to consider – or consult a friend, family, or a lawyer – then you can ask your spouse to give you some time to think it through.

However, it might happen that one of the spouses is a better negotiator than the other one. If you feel like the weaker party, you may inform your partner of your wish to hire an attorney to represent you. Most likely, he/she will do the same. Therefore, this job will lie on the shoulders of your legal assistants.

Bottom Line

If you don’t know how to approach divorce, start with brainstorming and planning. It should help you figure out what you want to get in the finale, what you are ready to give up, as well as how to build your divorce strategy, and communicate with your spouse.

Emotions may get in your way so don’t let them win power after the divorce forms are signed and you’re at the table of negotiations. If you need to, practice emotional control with a friend to get ready for emotional attacks.

Finally, remember that knowledge is power. If you’re savvy in divorce law, you won’t have to put blind trust in your spouse’s words.

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