More than 90% of divorce cases settle without going to trial and one of the main ways that happens negotiating a divorce settlement agreement. This is primarily because both parties tend to recognize the benefits of avoiding a strenuous litigation process and recognize the benefits of being the decision makers in the process. A judge, who does not know you, your partner, or the complexities of your family law matters, is not needed to render a decision that will impact you the rest of your life. Negotiating a divorce settlement agreement can be a smoother and shorter process than litigation and can provide you with more desirable results.
What does the negotiation process look like?
If you and your partner decide on negotiation, you will both begin by hiring an independent attorney to support you. At that point, you will each meet with your attorneys to discuss key issues of your divorce. Some common topics you can expect to discuss are issues related to children, finances and property, debt, and spousal support. For each of these issues, you will determine what you want and do not want, what you would and would not be willing to give up, and what is the bottom line that you would be willing to agree to. This is the jumping off point to get to that divorce settlement agreement in the end.
The complexity of your situation and how quickly you and your partner deliver all relevant documents will set the stage for how long the negotiation process may take. The amount of time it takes to negotiate a divorce settlement agreement in Illinois can range from one month to three years.
If you and your partner are in full agreement, then either attorney can prepare the relevant paperwork, send it to the opposing attorney to review, and request a court date to finalize the divorce. This final court date is called a “prove-up” and typically takes place about two weeks after the filing. The judge will review the documents and confirm that all matters presented in the divorce settlement agreement are acceptable to both parties.
If there are any matters that you don’t fully agree on, your lawyers will engage in a more rigorous negotiation process. This may require both sets of attorneys and clients to meet together and try to solve any problems that may exist. It is not uncommon for parties to have different ideas on child custody, visitation, asset division, and ongoing support.
Oftentimes, a series of meetings between parties can result in a mutually beneficial agreement. This is because family lawyers have training, experience, and an in-depth understanding of the long term consequences of decisions that are being made. The lawyers use these skills to help their clients negotiate a divorce settlement agreement that protects their clients and safeguards the entire families future.
It may be difficult for you and your partner to work together if there are contentious issues. If that is the case, the attorneys may meet without their clients present. They will negotiate with the best interests of their client in mind to try and resolve any issues. At this point, they will discuss everything with their client and determine if any of the options presented can be agreed upon.
The length of time it takes for the negotiation process to reach a divorce settlement agreement, depends on how quickly you and your partner can overcome, jealousy, anger, fear or any other issues that could potentially prevent you from reaching a reasonable agreement and moving forward with your life.
What if we do not reach a divorce settlement agreement?
If you, your partner, and your attorneys are unable to negotiate a divorce settlement agreement, you will have do determine what other approach may work for you. Collaboration or mediation may still be successful if there is not a lot of animosity or hostility and you simply need another party with different ideas and solutions. If the situation is too adversarial or emotionally charged, the next steps may be litigation. Whatever you decide, The Law Office Of Tania K. Harvey has the ingenuity and experience to move you into your future.
We have extensive experience in negotiation and have successfully reached numerous divorce settlement agreements. In fact, in all of our years of experience, we have only had to litigate a divorce case in court 3 times. We firmly believe that it is better to negotiate outside of court where you have the power to make decisions and we will do everything we can to ensure that happens and that your future is secure.