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The Biggest Roadblocks to Negotiating a Divorce Settlement


It’s no surprise that most divorces tend to be adversarial. For many couples trying to navigate a divorce settlement, it can be difficult to turn off the “win at all costs” mentality associated with divorce litigation. For couples with a healthy communicative relationship with their estranged spouse, an alternative divorce is probably preferable. Divorce settlements can range from simple and easy to complicated and difficult, depending on family size, assets, and current relationships. For couples hoping to finalize their divorce faster than the average timeline, finding middle ground and concessions is imperative.

3 Obstacles Sure to Derail Your Divorce Settlement Negotiations

Some couples enter into a divorce from a place of agreement, and they are the couples who find the process proceeds smoothly, and they also finalize their divorces faster than most divorcing couples. One reason amicable divorces are negotiated and finalized faster is that they’re negotiating terms from a constructive space. Using no-fault and collaborative divorces as a guide, we realize the process has to start with a few united objectives. We’ve provided a few suggestions for couples contemplating divorce but worry about their ability to create a fair and equitable plan.

  • Engaging in Gamesmanship Over Minor Children: Divorcing parents can find themselves embroiled in an emotional tug of war over their minor children during settlement negotiations. When children are treated as assets or commodities, it’s a recipe for disastrous ends. Issues of custody, visitation, and support can be used as a pressure point during negotiations, making the entire process acrimonious. Using the children as a wedge issue is not only harmful to the children, but it can also slow down the divorce process. Even if you and your spouse are not on the best terms, it’s imperative to find a middle ground from which to co-parent and develop plans for your divorce if you share minor children.
  • Failing to Create a Separation Budget: Once the ball is rolling downhill toward divorce, the reality of what that means for your financial situation needs to be understood and managed properly. If one spouse has left the marital home and established a new residence, it can be draining for the family’s financial health. Even if you are getting divorced, you may still have to operate a shared budget for certain expenditures until the process is completed. Your finances will need to be separated early within the process. However, if you have minor children who still have daily needs and expenses, you may need to focus on establishing a financial plan for the children sooner rather than later.
  • Having a Winners and Losers Attitude: Depending on the cause of the divorce, couples may begin the process in a very angry space. This angry space can lead to a winners and losers approach to the divorce settlement and the entire process. By categorizing your estranged spouse as the loser and yourself as the winner, you set up a dynamic that makes negotiation nearly impossible. Negotiation involves compromises and, at the very least, a minimal level of give and take. When that doesn’t happen, and every negotiation must be “won,” the divorce settlement is headed nowhere.

No-fault divorces and amicable dissolutions tend to do better than typical litigation because of the common purpose and goals established by the divorcing parties. It may seem absurd to suggest divorcing couples enter into the divorce process with skills they may have been unable to display in their marriage. But, finding common ground is an imperative part of the process and couples hoping to get through their divorce settlement on time need to find a way to reach a compromise.

At William Kirby, Family Law Attorney, our divorce lawyers can answer your questions about negotiating your divorce settlement. Call today at(215) 515-9901to schedule a consultation.