During your divorce, it may seem that every action in your case is taken with the goal of having a final hearing. Although it may feel as if a courtroom battle is inevitable, it’s more likely that your case will end in settlement. There is a lot at stake during a divorce, and parties often negotiate multiple times before they are ready to settle. If you are going through this process, you will want to know: What does it take to craft a successful settlement?
Understanding the Benefits of Settlement
Your perspective can have a significant impact on your ability to develop a successful settlement agreement. If you view settlement as a defeat, it will be difficult to negotiate with the other side effectively. However, if you recognize the advantages of reaching an agreement, you will probably be more motivated to work towards resolution during the process. Here are some of the benefits of settlement:
- Settlement can save you money. In most cases, taking a case to trial will cost far more than agreeing on divorce terms. When you settle, you can minimize your fees.
- Settlement can create finality. Some divorces can drag on for months or even years. Being involved in this kind of conflict can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. It can also make it difficult to move forward. When you are able to settle, you can end the case and move on with your life.
- Settlement provides for flexibility. Settlement allows the parties the freedom to agree to terms that would not be available in court. You and your ex can create your divorce terms based on your personal circumstances rather than having a judge decide what works for your life and your family.
- Settlement can help the parties be less acrimonious. Under the right conditions, settlement can reduce conflict between the parties. Depending on your circumstances, shifting the focus from being adversarial to working towards reaching an agreement may help both sides walk away from the experience with less animosity towards one another.
Knowing What You Want
An essential part of working towards settlement is developing a sense of what matters to you most before you begin negotiations. When you know what you want, it’s easier to proceed. You and your attorney can examine the different issues in your case and determine the best ways to establish clear goals for your settlement.
Having Some Flexibility
Approaching settlement with an all-or-nothing attitude won’t move the process forward. If anything, it may serve to impede negotiations. A successful divorce settlement is often the product of both parties yielding on some of their demands. Finding a middle ground usually requires some flexibility on both sides. When you keep an open mind and are willing to listen, you may discover that some of your ex’s demands are not outlandish. Likewise, when you present reasonable requests, you may find that the other side is willing to consider them.
Seeing the Big Picture
Divorce can be viewed from various perspectives. To some, the process may look like a series of battles where the ultimate goal is to win as much as possible. To others, the case could be more about painful emotions and getting back at the other person for present and past wrongdoing. These approaches don’t tend to support settlement, however. Those who can see the long-term implications of their decisions are often able to avoid getting caught up in the negative aspects of divorce. When you are able to maintain focus and see how working towards an agreement can be to your benefit, you have a much better chance of developing a successful settlement.
The Essential Terms
Every case is different, and some terms that are critical in one circumstance may not matter as much in another. In any event, a successful settlement will have all of its terms clearly defined. Your divorce may require additional clauses to help safeguard your financial future or to ensure your children have what they need. Each essential term should be fully examined by you and your attorney during your negotiations. Your attorney can help you ensure that the correct language is included in the agreement.
Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law has extensive experience helping clients understand their options regarding Wisconsin child support and can help you evaluate your circumstances. Contact us today to take a “first look” at your situation.