The end of a marriage can be a difficult time for those involved. Trying to divide up a family and household can be painful. Having to go to court to do so may make the situation even worse. There are ways to settle a divorce outside the courtroom, including mediation. While not all couples can cooperate enough to avoid a court battle, there are some tips that those going through a divorce can follow to keep the matter out of court and saving time and money in the process.
Communication is Key
Being able to communicate effectively with a soon-to-be ex-spouse is critical to settling a divorce outside of the courtroom. When issues come up that block progress in negotiation, it is important for each spouse to be able to try to keep the conversation going by agreeing to table the contentious matter until a later date, when both parties have had some time to think things over. Communication skills are important in such a situation, as each person needs to be willing to reach out to the other in a civil manner and set aside potentially heated issues.
One of the best ways to make sure that each person is communicating effectively is to do so in person. Electronic communications such as e-mails and text messages can convey tone or emotions that the sender did not mean to project. Discussions on the phone can also be problematic, as people cannot see one another’s facial expressions and body language. It is best to agree to hold all discussions regarding the divorce in person to prevent misunderstandings.
At times, one person may get frustrated with the course of the discussion and issue an ultimatum. A good way to deal with that is to behave is if it did not happen and continue to negotiate as before. Doing so allows the other party to save face and continue on with the negotiations.
If one spouse is pressuring another on an issue, such as deciding a matter by a certain date or giving an estimate of how much the party wants in the property settlement, the best way for the spouse to deal with that is to simply reply that he or she needs more time to think about it.
An Attorney Can Help
Even if spouses are settling divorce out of court, it remains important to consult an attorney. An attorney can help evaluate property settlement offers, draft custody agreements and file the appropriate paperwork for the court to approve any agreements at which the couple arrives.
If you are considering going through a divorce and do not want a protracted court battle, consult a lawyer who can discuss your situation with you and advise you of your options.