Negotiating a divorce settlement should never be seen as the soft or easy option. When negotiations are carried out skilfully and with proper preparation the outcomes can often be better than those that you could achieve at a final hearing.
Negotiation is too often seen as being a compromise. It sounds like backing down or being frightened of going in front of a judge.
It should, instead, be seen as just one of the strategies that you, and your divorce lawyer, can use in order to get a deal that meets your needs and the needs of your family.
Neil Denny, divorce lawyer at Lincoln-based family law specialists Diane Genders Solicitors, has trained other family lawyers on advanced negotiation techniques for the last three years. He also regularly uses round table or face to face meetings to help clients robustly negotiate an agreement that really works for them.
“Preparation is key,” he explains. “Understanding what your client wants to achieve – and why – helps everybody to focus on the most important issues. Just going into a negotiation with an attitude of waiting to see what happens is a recipe for failure.”
“We work with you to systematically prepare an opening position and, critically, your bottom line. We then identify the concessions that you are prepared to make and which ones are most and least important to you.”
Many people worry about negotiating for fear that their ex-partner or the other lawyer will be able to manipulate the situation.
“One aspect of advanced negotiation is being able to constantly monitor what is happening. Your lawyer needs to be able to recognise the games and power struggles that get played out. Having done so, she or he then needs to have the experience and confidence to assertively manage those egos, agendas and dirty tricks when necessary. This is a key aspect of protecting the client and ensuring the final agreement is the right one for them.”
Once a divorce agreement has been negotiated it is then filed at court and a Judge is asked to seal it so that it will be fully binding on everyone concerned.
“Properly conducted negotiations in a round table or face to face meetings can be an excellent way for separating or divorcing couples to sort out the matrimonial finances and contact arrangements. It can save a lot of money and time and enables the clients to keep a degree of control over the outcome. After all, you are not going to agree to something until you are entirely comfortable with it.”
If you are thinking about divorce or separation and want to know what options you have, or if you are worried about the way your divorce is going then contact specialist family lawyers in Lincoln, Diane Genders Solicitors on 01522 516500.