logo logo

Tips For Settling a Contested Divorce Case

Contested divorce litigation and trial always ends in deeply rooted emotions and bitter feelings by both parties. So in instances when a contested divorce is able to be settled before physically going to court the resulted settlement is more beneficial to all parties involved as bits and pieces of the settlement enable them to obtain specifically what they want from the divorce. However, reaching a settlement for a contested divorce is seldom easy, because let’s face it, if it were easy it would most likely result in an uncontested divorce.

Despite the difficulties in achieving a final resolution there is hope, resolution is possible, and the following tips are anticipated to help you in your journey of settling your contested divorce case.

Step number one is to control your emotions. It is very easy to get angry at this time, angry about outrageous proposals, angry about what has transpired up until this point in the litigation process, and frustrated because of lack of cooperation’s. When entering into the settlement stage of your case it is important that you try and stay positive, cordial, and level headed. If you want to actively settle your objective is to convince your spouse to agree or meet you half way on some of the request and areas of settlement. In order to convince your spouse it is necessary to find resolution you must be cordial, as least offensive as possible, and willing to make the first progressive steps when handling tough topics. “Remember it is easier to attract bees with honey than to try and catch them with vinegar and salt.” Making sure you have a positive attitude will make it more difficult for your former partner to be difficult and also more difficult for them to disagree when you present reasonable propositions for settlement. And in instances where the other party continues to make inappropriate settlement offers simply redirect them by educating them on all the reasons that you believe their proposal may be unreasonable.

Step number two is to prepare for a settlement. Preparing for a settlement entails a wide variety of arrangements and remembering to avoid activities that may lead to failed settlements and trial resolution. The first thing to remember in preparing for a settlement is to know what you want out of a settlement and your bottom line. Once you know your own limitations to settling an offer can be made in various ways; such as via letter, fully drafted proposals, mediation, conference call etc. it is recommended that you consider a settlement atmosphere that works best with you and allows you to negotiate more productively. In preparing for a settlement it is important to remember not to give ultimatums of deadlines unless absolutely necessary due to the interest of time. Ultimatums and deadlines will negatively impact proposals by making them appear less attractive and applying unnecessary pressure that could incite opposition in the other party.

Step number three is to be as cooperative as possible. Being cooperative has many beneficial qualities in the midst of settlement opportunities. For example being cooperative in full disclosures of information aids in building trust with the other party which can act as positive reinforcement in developing resolutions; whereas, stonewalling information or guarding communications will lead to more conflict and contested issues . Cooperation also means that you never refuse to negotiate and that you never enter into any form of backwards negotiations – which drive all prospects of settlement further away from the previous offer. The goal here is to find a right balance of cooperation. You don’t want to be overly cooperative so that you regret sections of your settlement agreement and you don’t want to be overly uncooperative so that the settlement is unachievable and the trial goes to court. It is also important to remember that in the event that the case does go to trial that the individual that appears most reasonable and cooperative will appear more favorably with the judge while the more uncooperative party may be responsible to additional fees or losses due to their unwillingness to reconsider a reasonable settlement proposal.

Additional Tips. It is also very important to communicate with your attorney your feelings about settlement on a regular basis.  For example, what terms you are willing to accept, the time frame you would like to settle in, and do not forget to provide your attorney a comprehensive list of everything that is important to you that needs to be a part of your settlement. 

If you are facing a contested divorce, call us at 770-609-1247 to speak with an experienced divorce attorney about how we can help you.

Danny Coleman on Google+!