Negotiating and trying to come to agreements on as many elements of your divorce as possible is a good idea. It can help to speed up the process of divorce and make it a bit easier. However, because divorces are often fraught with tension and anger, negotiation can be somewhat difficult. You may feel it’s impossible to work with your spouse but divorce negotiation is something you should consider.
However, as frustrating as it might be, it tends to be the better choice. When you and your ex are willing to negotiate and find areas where you can settle, you have more control over your divorce. If parts of your divorce have to go to litigation, it’s no longer a choice for you and your ex. The judge will be the one who makes the decision, and that doesn’t always work out in everyone’s best interest.
Therefore, you should strive to negotiate, even when it might feel difficult. Keeping the tips below in mind can get you started.
Be Willing to Work At It
Divorce negotiation isn’t easy. You and your ex both need to be willing to work at it if you want to make the negotiation work and reach a settlement. This requires clear communication.
Of course, this can be difficult for some spouses who are in the midst of a divorce. Sometimes, it is better to do the negotiations through attorneys. This can sometimes make it easier on the spouses since they won’t have to be in the same room with one another.
Don’t Put the Kids in the Middle
The last thing you or your ex should ever do is try to put your kids in the middle of your negotiations—or any part of your divorce for that matter. The kids are dealing with the divorce as best they can. Putting them between you and your spouse and using them as pawns is irresponsible and cruel.
The only time kids should be brought up in negotiations is when it involves creating a parenting plan, legal decision-making, and parenting time.
Don’t Let Emotions Take Control
Perhaps you are angry with your spouse because of what they did or did not do. Maybe they were the one who did something that caused you to realize that you need a divorce and can no longer be with them. Maybe they filed for the divorce, and it hit you from out of nowhere.
Regardless of how angry you are, you must do your best to keep your emotions in check. Do not emotionally respond to anything. Strive not to take anything personally, as much as you might struggle to do so.
If you are emotional, you will find that one of two things are likely to happen. One, your ex could see that they have struck a nerve, and this can give them the upper hand in negotiations. Or two, they could get angry and emotional in return. You will end up getting nothing accomplished.
Also, if you feel that your ex is overwhelmed and doesn’t fully understand everything happening in the divorce negotiation, do not take advantage of them. Help them to understand, so the settlement will be fair.
Know All of the Facts
You and your ex need to be honest and transparent when you are trying to settle. You need to share all of the pertinent information with your ex regarding finances, property, etc. Of course, they need to do the same for you. If you and your ex aren’t honest with one another, it’s going to be a difficult road to divorce.
Those who are worried their ex might be hiding assets or information should let their attorney know right away. In some instances, working with a forensic accountant might be in order.
Focus on the Issue at Hand
One of the mistakes a lot of people make when it comes to negotiating is focusing on the other person, not the problem. You can’t think about the things your spouse has done or said. You can’t think about getting back at them for the things they’ve done.
Instead, you have to think about the results you want. Focus on the issues at hand and how you can solve them. Don’t attempt to make life miserable for your ex just because you can. This won’t accomplish anything.
Strive to Find Ways to Agree
Always strive to find some sort of common ground. Even when problems might seem as though there is no way to reach an agreement, don’t give up quite yet. Continue trying to negotiate. Keep in mind that you can continue trying to settle up until you head into litigation. Just because you can’t agree right now doesn’t mean you won’t find common ground in a few weeks or months.
Compromise Is Key
You need to be willing to compromise and so does your ex. You aren’t going to walk away from your divorce with everything you want. You have to be willing to have some back and forth with your ex so that you can both have a fair outcome.
When you enter a divorce negotiation, you need to know what you are willing to give up and what you won’t budge on. These are the sticking points of your negotiation. If there are certain areas that you can’t compromise on, then so be it.
Get Some Help
Can you negotiate with your spouse on your own? Certainly, and if you still have a decent relationship with your ex despite the divorce, then you can attempt it. However, most people who are going through the process do not find themselves in a position where they can work with their spouse on a divorce negotiation on their own.
Sometimes, it’s better to have attorneys that can represent you in the negotiations. If you are going to be using an attorney, make sure they have experience in this area.
Another option to consider is for you and your ex to hire a third-party mediator, who doesn’t represent either of you. They can help you find ways to reach agreements on different difficult elements of the divorce.