Introduction to Divorce Negotiations

I strongly believe in negotiation and settlement. There are few words in the law more beautiful than settlement. The word denotes:

  • No more fighting
  • No appeals
  • Less cost
  • The parties, rather than a third party, control their own fate
  • More care can be given to use creative approaches
  • More care can be given to use the tax code to both parties' benefit

Settlement is important in family law particularly because there are children. The ugliness of a trial can permeate relationships for years. I therefore believe that the ideal divorce is one in which nothing is done to create or add to the kind of animosity that would prevent the parties from dancing together at their child's wedding.

While a bad settlement may sometimes beat a good trial, a good settlement beats a bad settlement. A good settlement doesn't just happen. It is the result of good negotiation. And good negotiation is the result of certain rules.

There is a wonderful scene in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Robert Redford is going to fight the head of the gang for supremacy, but first he suggests they discuss the rules for the fight. When the much bigger and meaner opponent drops his knife to his side to ask, incredulously, "What? Rules, in a knife fight?" Robert Redford uses the opportunity to kick him in a very sensitive part of the male anatomy.

Usually, the parties are going through a divorce because there is a lack of trust, communication and cooperation in the marriage. When a legal action starts and lawyers get involved, this lack of trust, communication and cooperation does not lessen. Rather, it usually gets worse. A certain degree of trust, communication and cooperation is necessary to reach a settlement. Paradoxically, the very reasons that bring the parties to the bargaining table are the major impediments to settlement.

As a result, there needs to be some basic rules in the divorce "knife fight." Here are a few suggested rules for lawyers and clients to adopt, not to kick each other in sensitive spots, but to help overcome these fundamental impediments to settlement.



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It is very difficult to move on with your life without getting the facts in writing, like, who gets what property and who is responsible for what debt, so a separation agreement outlines the rules in a legally binding format. Once you have a signed separation agreement you are on the right path to successfully negotiating your divorce settlement.


Suggested Reading
Fairshare Divorce for Women Fairshare Divorce for Women
Fair Share Divorce for Women is the first book that gives women the support and guidance they need to safeguard their marital assets. Too often women find themselves at a disadvantage when their marriage ends and they have to fight for what is rightfully theirs.

Author: Kathleen Miller, CFP, MBA


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DIVORCE AND HEALTH INSURANCE -- Courts require parents to provide medical insurance for their children when the spouses have access to insurance. If neither spouse has health insurance, the custodial parent should ask that the insurance cost be factored into the amount of child support paid.
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Online Divorce Negotiation

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So you and your spouse have a few issues to iron out before you can agree on your divorce? You are not alone, but you do not have to spend thousands on a lawyer to reach an agreement. With just a little participation and communication, you will be surprised how easy it is to resolve your disputes through our innovative Divorce Negotiation CenterTM. It's FREE. Give it a try.

 

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