Divorce Lawyer’s Tips for Settlement Negotiations

As part of any divorce proceeding in Pennsylvania, whether it is a mutual or contentious divorce, there are always talks of settlement in one form or another.  Whether it be regarding your property, custody, alimony, or support payments, each party has their own goals and agendas and many rely on experienced Pennsylvania divorce lawyers during this process. However, while attorneys may be able to negotiate on your behalf and advise you during settlement discussions, these settlement negotiations take a mental and emotional toll on both parties and there are a few important points to keep in mind when going through settlement talks as part of a Pennsylvania divorce:

1. Conduct Yourself Accordingly.

Settlement negotiations can be dangerous for either party if emotions get the best of you.  You must be prepared to carry yourself in a business-like fashion, both in your lawyer’s office and in court.  Discussing settlement offers or proposing the same with a clear head can do wonders for the end result and allows you to truly evaluate the situation.

Experienced divorce lawyers will tell you that “coming to the table” with a vindictive attitude or being too upset to properly make a decision will clearly hamper your case and lengthen the divorce proceedings. You must be willing to communicate and compromise, as longer divorce proceedings result in increased financial costs and lead to situations where poor decisions are made.

2. Put Your Marital Differences Aside.

Being upset with a spouse during or after a divorce is both understandable and expected.  However, if children are involved, you must try to put your differences aside during any settlement negotiations for your child’s benefit. Children are not to be considered a “bargaining chip” or simply a part of the divorce negotiations that needs “sorting out”. Their interests must come first.

Divorce is difficult enough for both parties involved, but when children are in the middle, it can become quite complicated. Divorce may create a number of life-changing events for your children including living arrangements, personal habits, family roles, responsibilities, and friendships. The most important thing you can do to minimize the negative impact of divorce on your children is to simply coexist peacefully with your spouse. This involves putting aside differences for the sake of your children and continue being a respectful and positive parent.

If you focus on your children’s needs more than how much money you are entitled to or causing emotional or financial damage to your spouse, your children’s stress will be minimized. If children are exposed to frequent arguments, fights, threats, and hateful comments between you and your spouse, it may lead to behavior problems, loyalty conflicts, and fear.

3. Be Patient With the Divorce Process.

Patience is a virtue and finalizing a divorce in Pennsylvania is not an overnight process. Settlement discussions may go on for weeks or months and it is important not to get stressed, frustrated, or impatient during this process, as this may lead to agreeing to settlement terms for the sake of moving the matter forward.  Even if you have initiated the split, being in a hurry will only cause unnecessary anguish on both parts, and can even work to your disadvantage. Your spouse may have a different sense of time related to how he or she perceives what’s going on, and respecting that can do wonders for your peace of mind.

The Martin Law Firm: Divorce Lawyers

Whether you are handling your divorce alone or with the help of skilled divorce lawyers, if you and your spouse have come to settlement terms regarding child custody or child support, alimony, and equitable division of marital property, the end result should be the drafting of a marital settlement agreement.  A marital settlement agreement can be entered into at any time before the final divorce decree and once it is agreed upon and signed by both parties, it is sent to the court and usually included as part of the court’s final divorce decree.

As important as it may be to have a lawyer representing you during the divorce and settlement negotiations, it is just as important to have experienced divorce lawyers prepare the marital settlement agreement.  Experienced Divorce Lawyers at The Martin Law Firm can ensure that your legal rights are protected, incorporate proper legal language into the agreement, and make sure the settlement agreement is comprehensive and accurately captures the agreed upon terms.

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