Family law attorney shares how to settle a divorce without losing


Courtesy of Rayford Dalton Palmer

The following is an excerpt quoted from Rayford Dalton Palmer Best selling book on Amazon, “I just want this to be done: how smart and successful people get a divorce without losing their children, money and brains.”

in divorceIf you’re in the courtroom, you’ve already lost.

Even if you win your case, by the time your lawsuit begins, you will likely have already spent more money on attorney fees than you would have actually earned.

Sometimes you can’t avoid it. But if you were in my law office, I would advise you to find some sort of settlement long before we get to the courtroom.

while dealing with hundreds of divorce In some cases, I’ve learned that knowing your goals up front is crucial. If you know what you want, you know what to ask for and which offers to refuse.

Furthermore, here are some tips on what to do:

Collect and validate your financial data, share it, and make sure you get it from your spouse

The sooner you provide your financial information, the faster you both will be able to negotiate. This helps annotate the balance sheet (eg: “Chase Bank Statement No. 0433 dated June 15, 2021”). If you feel unsure about your finances, talk to your attorney and a financial planner or CPA if you need help.

Know your chances of success and the potential range of experiment results

Get a realistic assessment from your attorney about how likely you are to win at trial. Work with your attorney to evaluate the true costs of your divorce versus any settlement you are considering. Think about the costs in terms of time, money, and emotional energy, not only for you but also for your children, family, and friends.

Try to understand your husband’s point of view

It is helpful to negotiate if you know why your soon-to-be ex-spouse took a certain position. For example, if you are the primary breadwinner, your spouse may be concerned about being pushed over a financial cliff. We’ve seen this concern even in high-asset divorces in which the lower-earning spouse is likely to receive millions of dollars.

Be clear with your proposal

In the beginning, it is most effective to present your proposals in the form of a full marital settlement agreement (MSA) and a custody and visitation agreement. Briefs are useful at first but are too brief and lacking in information to be of much value in negotiations. If you respond to a suggestion, make edits directly, for example, in a Word document with track changes.

No offers or BS requests

There are few inconveniences in the divorce process worse than receiving a completely unrealistic offer. This means that there is no way that the outcome stipulated in the offer can be achieved in court. You may get one of these because your wife has no idea what the real results of the case will be. Or it may be the strategy of their lawyer, who likes to ask for “the moon” and then negotiate.

Be careful about the lines in the sand

A certain kind of hard bargaining – “He won’t say a penny, or we’ll see you in court!” You may succeed in the business world, but you can’t get another vendor or client in divorce court. You’re stuck negotiating with the person — otherwise the judge will decide for you. If you draw a line in the sand, you had better back it up by being fully prepared to go to trial on those terms.

Settle some problems even if you can’t solve them all

I don’t subscribe to the famous lawyer’s “all or nothing” deal: if you don’t agree to all of my clients’ terms, we won’t agree to anything. This is ridiculous and not the way trials work in the rest of the courts. Many cases can be settled and taken off the table, giving clients some peace of mind about those issues and making the lawyer’s job easier, saving time and money for everyone in the deal.

Avoid backing out

Backing down is another step to avoid in negotiations. You bid X; They offer Y. You don’t like it, so you offer X minus 10 percent. As with lines in the sand, going backwards is disingenuous and leads to a loss of credibility. You may decline their offer and stick with yours, but backing off as “punishment” is a bad strategy.

Be creative

Maybe you can find compromise in unexpected ways. In Illinois, remarriage ends alimony. Let’s say your wife is dating someone and you want to marry them. You can respond by offering a specific term of alimony. This limits your liability but allows your wife to remarry without losing her benefits. Some creative thinking like this may help you overcome tough problems.

Keep the scale in mind

Keep the deal in perspective. People are fixated on numbers and can lose sight of the fact that what they are asking for is not far from what the other person wants, and that the actual differences are inconsequential in the general scheme of things. For example, $50,000 may seem like a lot, an abstract sum, but not when compared to the size of the marital estate and the cost of a divorce.

Rayford Dalton Palmer, Amazon bestselling author, “I Just Want This Done: How Smart, Successful People Get Divorced Without Losing Kids, Money, and Brains” He is a longtime Illinois attorney and managing contributor to Chicago-based STG Divorce Law, where he focuses on complex divorce cases, especially those involving higher income earners.


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