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Should people negotiate divorce terms with spouse alone?

Numerous Florida marriages end in divorce. In fact, an article from the Miami New Times states that several cities in the state, including Deltona, Palm Bay and Jacksonville, have some of the highest divorce rates out of any city in the United States. 

The divorce process understandably costs a lot. Many couples wonder if the two of them can negotiate terms on their own without an attorney present. It is certainly possible, but in most cases, it will be best to have an attorney or mediator on hand. If a divorcing couple does plan on doing this, then it is vital to keep the following points in mind. 

Establish ground rules

Before two former spouses negotiate, they need to take care of a few things. First, they need to plan a time to talk where neither one of them will be busy. Set aside a couple hours just to be safe. Next, the two people should write everything down. At the end of the negotiation, both parties should review the document. Everything should be clear before an attorney receives the terms. 

Keep emotions in check

If a person does not believe he or she can talk to a spouse rationally, then negotations should not take place without a lawyer present. Both people need to enter the meeting with an open mind. In the event things do become heated, take a minute to collect thoughts and return to the negotation calmer. 

Identify needs and wants

No one should receive the short end of the stick during a divorce negotation. However, people need to understand when to let go of something. Before going into the meeting, write down assets that are absolutely needed and assets that would just be nice to have. This helps greatly with negotation because people know what their bottom lines are. In the event a person feels he or she does not get everything needed, then attorneys can help sort items out. 

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  • The Florida Bar| Board Certified | Marital & Family Law
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