Divorce negotiation is not about right or wrong, it’s about Fair Results.
We spend most of our married lives negotiating with our spouses, whether that be about holidays, what new car or house, clothing and spending generally. Sometimes you ‘win’ the discussion and sometimes you give in, just to park it to use for the future. This is also true when you are involved in the sale of a business. You very rarely get the price you initially accepted for it, there is always discussion and negotiation or what we call ‘price chipping’ in that environment.
Well, the same goes for a divorce negotiation. The paperwork for the nisi and absolute are straightforward, it is the financial settlement that always takes time and indeed costs the money. That is where fair-result excel.
There is no right or wrong generally, it is all about negotiating hard but fair because 9 times out of 10 if you are being unfair, then you won’t get what you are asking for.
We always act for our clients with commitment and resolve but when we present a settlement offer to the other side we are always looking to understand their likely emotional reaction before we do that. Responding to the emotions of the other side may often get you more – understand their likely ‘deal breakers’ and if you can give in to them whilst retaining what you want and preserving your own ‘deal breakers’.
You also need to give your advisors or indeed yourself some ‘wiggle room’ during a divorce negotiation as you will never get what you ultimately want to understand the bottom line and work down from a higher level, but above all be realistic and pragmatic. Too often, clients can get entrenched in a certain position based on the spouses past behaviour which whilst understandable does not get you very far.
We spend 90% of our time with clients negotiating on their behalf. This doesn’t require mindless emails or letter writing, but old fashioned discussions because if you end up at a final hearing, that is exactly what the counsel will be doing – room to room trying to negotiate a deal.
Avoid that by negotiating now and sticking to the deal-breaker issues. There is no right and wrong and you will need to ‘give in’ on some issues – know what they are!
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Guide to Divorce
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