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Starting discussions

We are assuming you have read some or all of the information we provided in our “Getting Educated” section about various key topics and you are now educated enough to begin settlement negotiations with your spouse.  How do you start negotiating a settlement agreement with your spouse? If you are able, start by having a face-to-face discussion with your spouse about all the issues you need to agree upon. Have the discussion at coffee shop or similar place if you feel meeting in a public place will help keep the discussion calm. If you can’t have a discussion face-to-face, do it over the phone or exchange settlement proposals via email.

How do you start? Start with simple issues that you feel confident you can agree upon. Property issues are usually a good starting point. It is usually much easier to reach an agreement about how to divide furniture or bank accounts than to agree on how to divide children or how much support should be paid. Once you get the ball rolling with some initial agreements about how to divide your property, keep the momentum going. Build on those simple agreements to move on to more difficult issues. Save the hardest issues for last.

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