Introduction to Divorce Negotiations
Key Points
  • Negotiating puts you and your spouse in control of the divorce settlement.
  • It is better for you and your spouse to negotiate your own divorce settlement as long as you understand your legal rights. Leaving it up to the court or lawyers, usually means that both parties are unhappy with the agreement.
  • Set out the rules for negotiating the divorce settlement. There needs to be a certain degree of trust on both parts, and both must be willing to communicate.
  • Negotiating your divorce settlement means you bring to the table those items you want to discuss, what you want, and what you are willing to give up.

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.

Useful Online Tools
  • Negotiating Your Divorce Online - 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.

Separation Agreement Software
Download Product   
Separation Agreement Software
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

Related Article Archives
Client/Attorney Relationship
Collaborative Law
Property & Debt Division
Premarital Agreements
Private Investigation
    All Article Archives

Related Categories
Alimony & Spousal Support
Divorce & Pets
Divorce, Dollars & Debt
Divorce Laws
Divorce Process
Lawyer-Client Relationship
Men's & Father's Rights
Women's & Mother's Rights
    All Categories
Related Forums
DIY Divorce
Financial Aspects
Lawyer Issues
Men's Rights
Women's Rights
    All Forums

Resources & Tools

Bookstore Promotion Discount

Start Your Divorce Online Start Your Divorce
Several Options to Get Started Today.
Divorce Tools Online Divorce Tools
Keeping it Simple to Get the Job Done.
Divorce Downloads Download Center
Instantly Download Books, Guides & Forms.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Books
Over 100 of the Best Divorce & Custody Books.
Negotiate Online Negotiate Online
Settle your Divorce and Save.
Custody and Support Tracking Custody Scheduling
Make Sure You Document Everything.
GOOD FAITH – Negotiation between spouses works when both act in good faith. A negotiated settlement dovetails easily in an uncontested divorce. Meeting in a neutral place, the spouses talk face to face and often offer tradeoffs of interests that they might otherwise claim. In this routine, their lawyers retreat to the role of advisors who keep their clients on track, moving toward a fair and reasonable settlement.
Start Divorce

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:


Online Divorce Negotiation

Online Divorce Negotiation

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.


Featured Download Basic Principles of Law for Construing Separation Agreements

Basic Principles of Law for Construing Separation Agreements

Basic Principles of Law for Construing Separation Agreements

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site