How to Get the Upper Hand in Divorce Negotiations

Divorce Negotiation

When people decide to divorce, they typically want the proceedings to go as quickly and smoothly as possible, but also want to get the best possible outcome from their divorce. Here are some of my top tips that can help you get the upper hand in your divorce:

Be the first mover.

Once you decide you want to get a divorce, it can be helpful to be the one who makes the first move. Have a fully thought out plan that shows your spouse you have it all together and are not going to back down. In your divorce, there will be much that is out of your direct control but filing first can put you in the driver’s seat for some of it. Filing first also has some distinct emotional advantages and can help limit your vulnerability to your spouse’s dirty financial tricks, if you think they might be inclined towards that direction.

Don’t move out of your home.

As tempting as it may be to move out of your home and try to start fresh when you’re in the middle of your divorce, it is one of the worst things you can do. If you are economically dependent on your spouse, you are creating a new set of expenses, probably ones you cannot afford on your own, still leaving you economically dependent. You don’t want to be in this position. As much as it may pain you, don’t move out. If anyone moves out, let it be your spouse.

Don’t play the “nice guy/gal” role.

You’ve heard the saying, “nice guys/girls finish last”, right? Well, that can be applied to divorce as well. If you think that playing nice will make your spouse change their mind about the divorce or change the terms of the divorce, it won’t. In addition, play the “nice guy/gal usually leads to bad decisions that could result in irreversible long-term consequences that hurt you and your children.

Try to avoid infuriating your spouse.

While you don’t want to play the “nice guy/nice gal”, you also don’t want to infuriate your spouse. Angry spouses begin to act out of spite and are not likely to settle quickly, not to mention agree with your terms. This can lead to drawn out divorces that can drain your bank account. Instead, try to act civilly toward your spouse as well as fair. It can be difficult, but try to find a middle ground that doesn’t leave you acting overly nice or overly bitter. It will benefit you in the long run.

Do not negotiate before talking to a divorce attorney.

It’s important to know your legal rights before negotiating with your spouse or agreeing on any settlements. You may cheat yourself out of what you are entitled or agree to give more than you legally need to. Any discussions about your divorce should be handled by your attorney so that he or she can argue in your best interest.

At the end of the day, it’s your decision what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth letting go, but it’s critically important to plan your divorce out as much as possible to protect your interests. Taking some steps to get the upper hand can help keep your partner from taking advantage of you while you make your separation permanent.