How Should You Negotiate Finances In A Divorce

Should I demand a high amount of money or from the other point of view should I make a low offer? Most lawyers will do one or the other dependent upon which side they represent in a contested divorce. While there are some financial issues that are pretty straight forward and should follow the "usual pattern" for settlement, one size does not always fit all.

Last week I had to negotiate child support for a situation that the child support formula does not directly control. The parents were sharing custody equally and one parent earns over $400,000 and the other parent earns $60,000. The negotiations were successful because of several reasons: lawyers with experience on both sides; clients who wanted to resolve their conflict; clients who trusted the advice of their attorneys; and lawyers that wanted to get the job done rather than prolong litigation.

All too often I encounter one side or the other who believes they should have as much as possible rather than what is fair under the circumstances for both sides. Those clients often will wind up with large legal bills because the litigation goes on much longer than it should and the end result may not be much different from what could have been achieved with less time, aggravation and money.

There are times where a client really should refuse to settle because the offer or demand are grossly unfair. The client who receives the unfair offer is easier to represent because the result will always be better than the current offer. The client who seeks a grossly unfair resolution will often be disappointed at the end of the case, if they do not get their way.

So while it is easy for an attorney to be aggressive and demanding, the smart ones are the ones who know how to get the case resolved and save their clients money, time away from work and home, and leave each side with their dignity.