5 Divorce negotiation tips for your divorce settlement

Man and woman discussing at table

Originally published on 28th September 2018 at 10:20 AM

If you’re struggling with your divorce negotiations, we’ve provided below our top negotiation tips to help you settle your divorce yourselves. We’ve also included some things to watch out for that might mean you’re better off getting some negotiation support from one of our divorce coaches.

Court costs have risen and it’s no longer possible to get legal aid in divorce cases (except in exceptional circumstances). This means a growing number of people find themselves negotiating their divorce settlement themselves. It’s often assumed that everyone can negotiate, but successfully negotiating a divorce settlement can be tricky. Not only do you need to understand what the law says about dividing your finances, but you also need to keep your emotions in check.

Tip one: Make sure you’re ‘divorce ready’

You have a better chance of successfully negotiating a divorce financial settlement if you’re ‘divorce ready’. This means dealing with the raw emotions and being in a place where you’re calm enough to think strategically and not focus on revenge, retaliation or making your partner pay for ‘wrongs’ of the past. If you want to check your divorce readiness watch our video below:

Tip two: Practice staying calm and in control of your emotions

Learn what triggers negative reactions in you – is there a specific point of disagreement that you and your ex have or is it something they say or do that winds you up. Whatever it is, identify it and practice staying calm when thinking about it or experiencing it. You could get a friend to role-play talking about the issue. If you do this prior to your divorce negotiations, you are more likely to be able to focus on what really matters.

Tip three: Negotiate from a position of knowledge

Do you know what the law says about splitting assets? Negotiating a divorce financial settlement is easier if you are equipped with knowledge. Don’t guess, don’t rely on what happened in your friend’s divorce – find out. You can use our divorce tips guide for general legal information or book a free 15-minute divorce advice call with one of our expert divorce coaches.

Tip four: Be clear on what you want

...but accept you won't get everything. Work out what you need. Think about what this leaves your partner with - successful divorce negotiations should work for you both. Brainstorm or generate ideas and options before being too narrowly focused on one thing or becoming entrenched.

Step five: Become an effective communicator

Everybody knows that it's as much about how you say something as what the message contains that makes it successful. When negotiating a divorce financial settlement, use simple language and short sentences. Don’t tell someone what you’re not going to do or not going to accept… talk about what’s possible, what’s acceptable. Buy yourself time with the phrase ‘I’ll need some time to consider your proposal properly’. ‘What if’ is a great opener, and ‘what else’ (are you prepared to consider/offer) a great follow-up.

There may be some times when the negotiation playing field is too uneven for you to effectively manage a divorce settlement yourselves. Maybe one of you is a much stronger negotiator because of their job. Or maybe one of you is in a more powerful position. In these circumstances, we recommend getting negotiation support. This ensures the person in the weaker position is protected.

Signs you need help when negotiating a divorce financial settlement

Here are some signs that may mean you need extra support during divorce negotiations:

  • You or your partner criticise each other (rather than critique ideas)
  • There is contempt, personal attacks, sarcasm, body language such as eye-rolling
  • You feel rail-roaded by your partner and unable to get your point across
  • Your partner talks over you and never gives you space to say what you want
  • There is frequent outward hostility or anger from one or both of you
  • Entrenchment – one or both of you is/are not willing to see other’s point of view
  • One of you has narcissistic tendencies – e.g. Excessively haughty, arrogant or manipulative
  • All or nothing thinking – extreme views are held, and total disaster is predicted if things don’t go your/their way
  • Discussions centre on blaming each other rather than finding solutions
  • Things rapidly escalate into an argument

FAQs

How do you negotiate a divorce settlement?

You can negotiate a divorce settlement by deciding between yourself and your ex how to split your finances, and what a court would consider a fair split. You need to know what you have in the marital pot and what a judge considers when deciding if a financial settlement proposal is fair or not. amicable’s divorce coaches can help you with this, book a free 15-minute call to talk through your options.

What is a fair divorce settlement?

The starting point for any divorce negotiations is a 50/50 split, however, there may be scenarios where this is not ‘fair’. Speak to one of our experts today for more information.

How do I negotiate my divorce settlement in the UK?

You can start negotiating a divorce financial settlement by knowing what you have in the marital pot and what you will need once you’re separated.

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce settlement?

The answer to this question depends on various factors during the marriage. The starting point is usually a 50/50 split.

Rebecca Jones
Rebecca Jones
Rebecca has a background in family law and has also been through her own divorce. Rebecca is fantastic at offering pragmatic advice and is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to the legalities around divorce and separation.

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