Most people don’t get divorced if they still get along and have no disputes. Most divorcing couples have trouble seeing eye to eye on at least some matters, such as finances or child-rearing. Even if a divorce is relatively amicable, ending a marriage provides plenty of opportunities for new disagreements to arise.
The common assumption is that the only way to resolve serious disputes during a divorce is to take the matter to court. However, even complex disagreements in high-net-worth divorces can often be resolved outside of court if you are prepared to negotiate. Knowing some tactics for reaching satisfying compromises can simplify the divorce process significantly.
Benefits of Handling Divorce Disputes Outside of Court
California family courts are notorious for having months-long case backlogs. There aren’t enough courts and judges to handle every case entering the system promptly. For this reason, most family law attorneys recommend resolving matters outside the courtroom if possible. Mediation or attorney-guided collaborative divorce can help spouses develop a divorce settlement without waiting months or longer to have their dispute heard by a judge.
Handling your dispute outside of the courtroom also has benefits such as:
- Cost: The delays caused by taking your split to court can significantly increase the cost compared to reaching a settlement on your own.
- Control: When a judge hears your case, they have the final say in resolving the matter. Anything you cannot settle on your own will be dictated by the judge’s decree, which may leave no one happy. In contrast, collaborating with your spouse can help you achieve a satisfying settlement by granting you more control over the process.
- Flexibility: Judges are bound by California laws on matters like child custody, spousal support, and asset division. However, if you settle outside of court, you can agree to handle these matters any way you want, as long as both spouses consent.
Even if your disputes are complex, it may be worth attempting to resolve them yourself to see if you can achieve a settlement without the cost, delays, and stress involved in court.
Strategies for Finding Satisfying Compromises in Divorce Disputes
Developing a divorce settlement is all about compromise. You and your spouse will work together to draft terms with which you can live. But how are you supposed to do that if you don’t particularly like your partner anymore?
The trick is to treat the process like any other negotiation. It is not a battle – it’s a collaboration. The following divorce settlement strategies can help you collaborate and find better compromises without the need for judicial interference.
Whether or not you and your spouse get along, brainstorming solutions can be a great way to find solutions. You can use mediation sessions to brainstorm ideas with the mediator’s support to ensure the process remains civil. This casual, low-pressure process can help you find solutions you otherwise wouldn’t have considered.
If you don’t feel comfortable brainstorming solutions with your spouse, you can also do this on your own. Take some time with your attorney or a close friend to develop a list of possible compromises that account for your own and your spouse’s preferences. The goal is to think outside the box and find alternatives for your situation.
Present Multiple Options
Whether or not you choose to brainstorm possibilities, it’s an excellent idea to prepare multiple possible compromises before attending mediation. This accomplishes several things:
- Preparing these options for your spouse helps you clarify what you want from the mediation and what you’d be willing to accept.
- If your spouse doesn’t like one option, you can move on to the next to keep the process moving.
- When given multiple options during negotiation, people are more likely to choose from among them rather than present an additional, unrelated proposal, allowing you to guide the process.
- Every option provides a basis for further negotiation, so even if none are perfect, it’s more likely that one will be close enough to act as the basis for your final agreement.
Prioritize Quid Pro Quo Exchanges
Divorce is not supposed to be a battle. Ideally, it will be a collaboration between two parties. One way to foster this sense of cooperation is to prioritize quid pro quo exchanges or contingent concessions.
This means making a concession to the other person in exchange for something you want. It may look like granting your spouse full ownership of a shared vehicle in exchange for keeping the pets or giving them a retirement account in exchange for an investment account.
When you focus on this kind of balanced quid pro quo, you ensure that the overall process remains equitable, even if you and your spouse struggle to see eye to eye on complex matters.
During the negotiation process, it can be easy to lose track of what matters have been settled and what agreements are contingent on other issues. If you’re a visual thinker, it may be worthwhile to grab a pen and paper or a whiteboard and flowchart different issues. Seeing everything laid out in front of you can make it easier for you, your spouse, and your mediator to keep track of all the problems involved in a complex divorce and ensure that a fair compromise is reached.
Skilled Legal Representation During Divorce Mediation
Mediation can be a powerful tool for resolving complex divorce disputes, but sometimes it’s not enough. Working with a skilled attorney can make handling divorce disputes outside of court significantly easier. At CC LawGroup, we have decades of experience with strategies for finding satisfying compromises during complex divorces. We are available to represent you during mediation or in family court. Schedule your consultation today to learn how we can help your negotiations go more smoothly during divorce mediation.