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Negotiating divorce terms calmly can yield benefits

In the heat of divorce negotiations, emotions can run hot. This is not surprising as a divorce is typically the culmination of intense and long-standing differences. As such, it's all too easy for a divorcing person to act in ways designed to make life as difficult as possible for his or her soon-to-be ex-spouse. But as tempting as it may be to keep the fires of conflict burning, your best play is to make your settlement negotiations as amicable as possible.

One way that you may be able to make your negotiations more civil is to refrain from playing the "blame game" and focus on the things that really matter. A licensed clinical social worker makes the following recommendations:

  • Approach negotiations with your ex with an eye on problem-solving rather than proving points.
  • Don't dwell on your ex's flaws or try justifying why your ex is the problem.
  • Avoid making threats or saying things you will later regret.
  • Try talking honestly with your ex. Admit you have hurt feelings and see how he or she responds. It may be possible to retain some level of trust in your relationship.

Discussing important matters openly may help you and your ex-spouse expedite the divorce process more efficiently, which could save you time, money and emotional distress.

But this does not mean you should submit to unreasonable terms simply to make things a little easier. The manner in which your life moves forward may be greatly affected by what is contained in your settlement regarding such issues as property division, child custody and child support. Moreover, once a divorce decree is signed, it can be difficult to get it modified at a later date.

An experienced family law attorney can offer guidance if you are trying to work through a contentious divorce. The attorney can take a reasoned approach to help ensure that you get terms that are fair. By having an attorney work on your behalf, you have the opportunity to have decisions made based on your best interests rather than your emotions.

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