During your divorce, your family law attorney will most likely advise you to try to negotiate with your spouse – whether it’s about child custody and visitation, the way you divide your assets, or other matters that could put you and your soon-to-be ex at a judge’s mercy.
But that’s easier to say than it is to do… right?
How to Negotiate During Divorce
Before you begin to negotiate with your spouse, you need to know why it’s important.
If you can’t agree on important issues, you’ll end up forcing the judge in your case to decide them for you. While judges do their best to be fair, only you and your spouse know what’s really best for yourselves and your children. Further, the more time you need to spend in court, the more money your divorce will cost – and the longer it’ll take.
Ideally, you’ll be able to work with your spouse to reach agreements on all the major issues before you go before the judge.
3 Tips on How to Negotiate During Divorce
Divorce Negotiation Tip #1: Separate What You Need From What You Want
Map out a post-divorce budget and try to determine how much, if any, alimony you’ll need to ask your spouse to pay. Evaluate the entire situation so you know what’s negotiable and what’s not before you begin engaging your spouse in negotiations. Ask yourself:
- Do I need to remain in the marital home because the children are in school here (or for other reasons)?
- Will I be able to handle the debt associated with taking one of the vehicles?
- Can I reasonably expect my spouse to pay a certain amount in alimony while still leaving him or her enough to live on?
- Will the kids live with me or my ex, and what do I need (or what do I need to do) to keep their standard of living the same?
Every situation is different, so take an objective look at your divorce. Try to think like a judge, who’s looking out for what’s fair for both parties (but especially the children).
Divorce Negotiation Tip #2: Separate Your Emotions From the Facts
It’s easy to become upset when you’re negotiating your entire life, but that’s the least productive thing you can do. (It may be a good idea to talk to a local therapist who can provide you with new coping strategies, as well.)
Remember that nothing can derail negotiations as quickly as a heated argument can. Do what it takes to remain as calm and reasonable as possible while you’re working through these issues with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, because you need to focus on the big picture: life after divorce.
Divorce Negotiation Tip #3: Stay Flexible
The divorce process is all about negotiations, but you won’t get far if you don’t remain flexible. Negotiation is give-and-take, and you can’t try to change that dynamic. There are alternatives to every situation; if your spouse wants something that isn’t on your “must-have” list, use it as a bargaining tool.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Negotiating With Your Spouse?
Your attorney can always help you negotiate, as well, although she’ll have to work with your spouse’s attorney to do so.
We can help you get through this – and if you’re overwhelmed by what’s going on, call us right away. The sooner we can understand your situation, the sooner we can begin to help you.
Call us at 209-910-9865 or get in touch with us online to talk to a Stockton family lawyer who can help today.