6 Tips to Reach a Fair Divorce Settlement
Choosing an alternative divorce route has its benefits, and one of the strongest advantages is the opportunity to reach a fair divorce settlement that both you and your spouse can agree on.
At this time Natalie is offering mediation services only
When you handle your divorce out of court, it’s no longer up to the judge to decide what’s in your bests interests – that decision now falls on you, your spouse, your attorneys or mediator, and any other divorce professionals you invite to join you to offer further guidance.
That means that you need to go in with your best foot forward and be prepared to negotiate to reach a fair divorce settlement for both sides.
1. Go in With Strong Knowledge of Your Finances
It’s common in some marriages for one person to handle most of the finances. While this can make things easier during the marriage, it often leaves the other person at a disadvantage during divorce because they’re unaware of things like property, retirement accounts, cash, other assets, and debts. Whether finances were your responsibility or not, take the time before your first collaborative divorce meeting or mediation session to understand the financial assets and liabilities you have, what they’re worth, etc.
You may be able to sit down together and go over this, or you may need to look at this on your own time. Try using a checklist to ensure you go over everything. Whatever you need to do, make sure you have a good understanding of your finances before it’s time to negotiate.
2. Understand Your State Laws
Every state does things differently when it comes to divorce – things like child support, debt allocation, asset allocation, alimony, and visitation are all a bit different from state to state. What other states do is of no concern to you, but you should have a good grip on your state’s laws and perspectives on these aspects of divorce. For example, Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means spouses can file a dissolution of marriage without admitting fault on either side.
3. Be Willing to Negotiate
While it’s good to have boundaries around what you can and cannot accept in your divorce agreement, you also need to have some flexibility where possible to negotiate the best possible settlement for both you and your ex. Negotiation is especially important in collaborative divorce or mediation, as you need to be able to sit in the same room and have a productive discussion.
A good tip is to start with the smaller issues that don’t have a strong emotional attachment to them, and then work your way up to the more challenging issues as you go.
4. Know What Your Spouse Wants Out of the Settlement
A big part of getting what you want from your divorce is also knowing what your spouse wants. You both likely want slightly different things, so you may be able to offer them something of value in exchange for something that means more to you.
5. Don’t Let Your Emotions Get the Best of You
It’s easy to get caught up in the emotional rollercoaster of a divorce, especially when you’re in the thick of the process itself. Try to stay as objective as possible, keeping in mind the best interests of you, your spouse, and any children you have, and don’t get too attached to small things that may not necessarily go your way.
Staying calm, cool, and collected will increase your odds of reaching a settlement that you’re happy with when all is said and done.
6. Work With a Good Attorney
Working with an experienced, trusted attorney is a factor that cannot be minimized. Natalie Baird is a Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator and family law attorney who specializes in divorce mediation and collaborative divorce in Tampa, FL. She has the skills and experience necessary to reach a settlement everyone can agree to without the need for messy court intervention.
If you want to reach a fair divorce settlement through mediation or collaborative divorce, start working on tips 1-5 in this article, and reach out to Natalie Baird Mediations & Collaborative Divorce at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation or a mediation session.