Divorces are granted according to the terms listed in a Divorce Decree. Couples get a Divorce Decree either through settlement or trial. Most cases settle — with very few actually making it all the way to a trial. When a case settles is largely dependent on the attitudes and positions taken during the divorce proceedings. While some cases will have to be tried, for those that can be settled — the earlier they are settled the less draining it is financially, emotionally and physically. These five tips are aimed at keeping a case on a settlement course:
- Do not use ultimatums or threats when communicating with your spouse.
The more amicably you communicate the more likely you are to achieve a settlement that both parties can live with. Divorces that go to trial do not end up with “all or nothing” results and your spouse is unlikely to accept an “all or nothing” offer or threat. Think more along the lines of a 50/50 split. Remember, divorces are not about evening the score between the couple, but are about separating and new beginnings.
- Do not use social media or friends and family to try your case.
The more you injure your spouse, especially in front of friends and family the more your spouse is likely to fight you and the more difficult your divorce proceedings are going to become. Divorces are emotional enough without the shortcomings of each spouse being played out before friends and family. You will pay more in attorney’s fees and spend more time in court at hearings and in the end it is unlikely to change the ultimate outcome at all. It is not helpful to post pictures of you having a great time and therefore try to make your spouse think you are so much better off without them. Even if you are in fact better off, it is more likely to create a hostile environment than an environment conducive to settlement.
- Do not use the children in the proceedings.
Never, never, never use the children to communicate with the other spouse for you or as pawns in the proceedings. Not only does this create a very emotionally charged environment, it ultimately hurts the children and your relationship with the children. The children did not cause the divorce and they will not be the ones that settle the disputes. The more you cause your spouse to fear losing their relationship with the children the more the spouse is going to fight. It must be remembered that a divorce done properly will have both parents maintaining a productive relationship with the children. Remember that people will fight more for children than for objects because no parent wants to look like a bad parent to their children or others and their relationship with their children is important on a number of levels. Keep the children’s best interest first in all your dealings and find ways to communicate productively with regard to the children and you are much more likely to be able to work out the details of conservatorship, visitation and support of the children.
- Try putting yourself in the shoes of your spouse when making settlement offers.
When trying to settle a case you must make offers that your spouse would even consider. If you try thinking about the case from the point of view of your spouse then you are much more likely to reach a result that will work for both of you. People do not accept offers that are worse than they would get if they go to court. You have to make offers that are near the likely outcome of the case if it went to trial. If offers are too one sided then the other party has nothing to lose by going to court.
- Listen to your lawyer.
When you are getting a divorce there seems to be an unlimited amount of people giving advice. However, even if friends and family are correct about what someone else received in a divorce, it is unlikely that they know all the facts and law that produced that result. You hired your lawyer to give you advice and if you hired a family lawyer then you are in the hands of an expert that knows what the likely outcomes are and whether the facts of your case justify certain actions or not. Additionally, your lawyer is not emotionally involved in your case and therefore can think more logically about the strategies and tactics to be used. Let the expert guide your case. Many clients want a lawyer to come out swinging, but you have to remember that you can always turn up the heat in a case, but it is difficult to get back to an amicable situation if you start out very nasty.
Not all cases will settle, but most will. If you take a more amicable approach you are more likely to get there sooner, and therefore less expensively. Who doesn’t want their divorce to go smoothly, quickly and be really affordable? There are no guarantees that your case will settle, but if you follow these five tips you have a much higher chance of settling.