Negotiating an agreement in a divorce

Many parties attempt to amicably resolve their divorce with as little interference from attorneys as possible.  Parties who are amicable are in the unique position of being able to sit down together to discuss their assets and liabilities and to try and formulate a plan for how they will divide everything up, by agreement.  This is a great way to try and achieve a cost-effective divorce, and a lot of times it can be very successful.  However, often times parties look at things together through rose colored glasses and their agreements, in reality, are either unconscionable, or easily fall apart once attorneys are involved.

One of the problems with trying to reconcile a divorce between the parties without any prior legal advice is that the parties may, in theory, think that they have a fair agreement.  However, when they meet with individual counsel and review what they’d actually be entitled to by law, it is vastly different from what the parties came up with together on their own.  This causes parties, often, to have a change of heart about what they are agreeing to.  This can cause animosity between the parties and any chance of an agreement can quickly fall apart, due to the lack of knowledge the parties had going into their negotiations.

So, one may ask, then, is it possible to reach an agreement in a divorce scenario between the parties, when attorneys are involved?  The answer to this question, surprisingly, is yes, and it happens a lot more often than one might think.

Retaining an attorney does not mean litigation.  While some attorneys are more litigious than others, making your wishes clear to the attorney at the beginning of the engagement of their services can often cause an adjustment in how the case would be handled.  At our office, if a client makes it clear that they want to resolve everything amicably and by agreement, we will advise them of their rights and try to negotiate the fairest settlement possible for them.  This is the most cost effective way to finalize a divorce.  Of course, if things become litigious we will fight hard for the best possible outcome for our clients, but many clients don’t want that at the beginning and hope to reach an agreement.  We are here to help our clients do that.  However, it is almost always better to try and negotiate a settlement after retaining counsel to help you.  Otherwise, parties often find themselves in a scenario where they think they have an agreement and it completely falls apart once attorneys are involved.

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