Choosing whether to negotiate a divorce settlement or go through the process of litigation may not be an easy decision, especially if you are still nursing feelings of resentment and anger toward your spouse. However, understanding the long-term ramifications of drawn-out litigation may allow you to consider the benefits of coming to a settlement agreement without the help of the court.
If you and your spouse can arrive at an agreeable settlement for issues related to child custody and asset division, you may find yourself in a more positive place when the divorce is behind you. To facilitate the most beneficial outcome, you may want to consider several suggestions for making the settlement process as painless as possible.
Your financial status
Preparation is critical, and there is no such thing as too much preparation for a divorce. Many spouses end up unable to fully participate in their own divorces because they have not taken the time to learn where they stand financially and otherwise. If you have spent years allowing your spouse to manage the household finances and investments, your priority is to learn as much as you can about these factors.
The life you will have after the divorce is finalized will significantly depend on the fairness of the settlement you achieve. Without understanding where your assets lie, you may miss valuable opportunities to protect your rights under New Jersey’s divorce laws. You will need to know the balances in all your accounts, all details about investment and retirement funds, the value of any shared property and the amount of debt you and your spouse have accumulated.
Seeking what is best for all
When you meet with your spouse, it will be helpful to have in mind the kind of custody arrangement you feel will be best for your children and fit well with your family dynamic. Arriving at the negotiating table with suggestions for a workable parenting plan is a positive step. However, state laws are often quite specific about the amount of time each parent should have with the children.
Despite the range of emotions you may be feeling as your marriage comes to an end, negotiations often go much more smoothly when both parties are willing to compromise and consider the requests of the other spouse. Rather than a win-lose scenario that often results from divorce litigation, alternative dispute resolution frequently leaves both parties satisfied and prepared to comply with the decisions.
Approaching your divorce with a readiness to settle will be futile, however, if your spouse refuses to negotiate. Having an attorney who can advise you through negotiation as well as represent you through litigation will be to your benefit.