Negotiating Divorce Settlements for New Jersey Men
Here’s something many divorce lawyers won’t tell you: Try to negotiate the broad parameters of your settlement directly with your about-to-be ex-wife. It will speed up the divorce process and save you some money.
As a family law attorney whose practice focuses on representing men and fathers in their divorce, naturally I will help if there’s a stalemate or if she is acting unreasonably. Also, I will work out with her lawyer the details and wording of the agreement, both to ensure that it meets the requirements of New Jersey law and to avoid any ambiguities that can lead to a fight later on over what something means or was intended.
Assuming you are on speaking terms with your spouse and the post-break up situation is reasonably stable, here are some tips on what to do before moving forward.
1. Know Your Financial Situation.
If you don’t know your situation or are unfamiliar with financial issues and matters, get help first. Ask a financial advisor to explain them to you. If you still feel uncomfortable talking about them or don’t truly grasp how they work, don’t negotiate for yourself. The fee you’ll pay me to do it on your behalf will likely be far less than the cost of negotiating yourself.2
2. Know What You Want and Need.
Too many men we represent start off by only wanting “what’s fair.” While that sounds magnanimous, it can lead to disaster. It’s crucial to know precisely what you want before you begin negotiating. Make a list if it helps you focus. You’ll never get everything you want but if you focus on what is truly important, you can negotiate for what you want. But remain flexible.
3. Figure Out Your Best and Worst Alternatives.
How do you calculate these? Simple. Ask New Jersey men’s divorce Nutley or any of our family lawyers for men and fathers. So, if your ex’s best settlement offer is worse than the worst that might come out of a trial, accepting her proposal doesn’t make sense.
4. Know What Your Spouse Wants and Needs.
This is as important as knowing what you want and need. It’ll be helpful if you can also determine her best and worst alternatives, as well. The more you can understand what she wants and needs, the greater the likelihood that you will negotiate an agreement that satisfies both of you. Negotiating a win-win solution for both of you means you have a better chance of settling the divorce amicably and including terms you want.
5. Know Your Bottom Line.
Before you start negotiating, know what you can accept and what you cannot live with under any circumstances. Stay strong enough to reject a proposal that falls short. And do a reality check before you determine your bottom line. Talk with us and run it past friends you really trust. If your bottom line is not realistic, you’ll never negotiate a fair and equitable agreement.
6. Set Ground Rules in Before Negotiating.
It’s best to negotiate in a neutral place but that isn’t always possible. Even if that’s not practical, set aside several hours so that the discussion isn’t cut off because either of you have another appointment. Also, agree who will write down what is determined and each of you should have a set of the same notes. Decide if what is agreed upon will be submitted to your lawyer and hers for approval.
Negotiating a settlement isn’t for everyone because it’s not easy and isn’t fun. If you are afraid of your spouse, if she has a narcissistic personality disorder or you do not feel able to stand up for yourself during the process, then don’t even consider DIY’ing your settlement negotiation. The important thing to consider is whether doing so will help you move forward.
Whether or not you decide to give it a try, talk with us about what the law in New Jersey allows and what a judge is likely to decide.
If you or a man you know in New Jersey is considering a divorce and want to discuss the feasibility of trying to negotiate your settlement agreement, feel free to contact us or any of the attorneys at the family law firm Montclair for men in New Jersey. Reach us at either 973.562.0100 in Nutley or, in Montclair, at 862.245.4620.