Not all divorces have to be contentious. In fact, the vast majority of them resolve before ever heading to trial. If you have a decent relationship with your spouse, then you might be able to work amicably with them to come to a divorce settlement that is fair to both parties. But even though you can work collaboratively or through a mediator to find a divorce agreement that is right for you, you should still be prepared to enter your mediation or collaborative divorce meetings with a strategy for obtaining what you want out of your divorce.
With that in mind, you should take each of the following considerations into account as you prepare for your settlement talks:
- Know what you need for stability: Try to imagine what your life will look like post-divorce, then identify what you need to have the stability that you deserve. The key here is to focus on needs, not wants. Do you need a residence to live in? A car to get you to work? A certain amount of money to maintain your living expenses? This will form the starting point of your negotiations.
- What does your spouse need: If you can identify what your spouse needs post-divorce, then you know where his or her focus is going to be during settlement talks. You can then use these identified assets as leverage to try to find a resolution that works for both of you.
- Strategize around wants: Conduct the same analysis for your and your spouse’s wants. While you both might want the same thing, there’s a decent chance that you’re wants will be different. If there’s overlap, though, then you know where you need to focus your negotiation efforts.
- Be mindful of your tone: Although the hope is that your settlement discussions will be amicable, there’s still the chance that there’ll be some conflict. Try to remain calm and almost business-like during your talks. This will ensure that conversations are productive and won’t be stalled by otherwise avoidable conflict. After all, damaging your relationship with your spouse can lead to headaches later on.
- Keep the focus where it needs to be: This tip is especially pertinent when you’re discussing child custody and visitation issues. It’s easy to get bogged down in each parent’s shortcomings or disagreements over parenting styles, but the focus really needs to stay on your child’s best interests. So, be prepared to redirect discussions toward what is the best outcome for your child.
- Ensure transparency: To obtain an amicable and fair outcome, you and your spouse need to be transparent in every aspect of your settlement negotiations. This certainly means being open and honest about marital finances, but it’s also important to give a clear and realistic picture of what you expect your life to look like post-divorce.
Know how to navigate your divorce settlement talks
Preparing for your settlement talks can be challenging, especially if you don’t know what to expect from the process. But adequate preparation is key to ensuring that you obtain a fair outcome that positions you for success as you enter the next chapter of your life. That’s why many individuals turn to an experienced legal professional for help. If you’d like to learn more about what an attorney can do to help you navigate your divorce, then please consider researching your representation options and think about sitting down with one that feels right to you to discuss the specific facts