How to settle a divorce out of court will very much depend on sensible communication. Of course, for anyone hoping to reach an agreement about how their finances will be split upon divorce or where their children will live, without the expense and often time-consuming process of asking a judge to do this for them, some form of communication is essential.
Before going through a couple of the main options available to anyone who wants to try to reach a financial settlement to settle a divorce out of court, it is worth bearing in mind that there will be many opportunities for you to negotiate your financial settlement as part of the court proceedings. This means that even if court proceedings are necessary and these are started, you could reach an agreement with your spouse at any time during these proceedings and not need to progress to the final hearing. In fact, in various circumstances, a solicitor may advise you to start court proceedings at the same time as negotiating a financial settlement with your spouse, in order to avoid any unnecessary delays.
Even if your spouse won’t speak to you directly, you could always ask your solicitors to negotiate on your behalf.
Sometimes, negotiations that take place between solicitors via the telephone or through letters, may not be enough. They can often feel slow and tedious and can lead to more frustration in already difficult circumstances.
Collaborative law is a process which involves you, your spouse and your respective solicitors, meeting to discuss and negotiate your financial settlement or child arrangements, with the aim of reaching an agreement.
Having impartial legal experts on hand in the discussions, who are not emotionally linked to a marriage, can help some couples to reach an agreement and ultimately avoid the need to go to court. This type of meeting can often help to pinpoint the key issues and deal with them in a much quicker and more efficient way than negotiation through letters or via the telephone. It can also help for communication between you and your spouse to be opened up, in a more formal situation. Additionally, legal advice can be given during the discussions, to help to ensure that a fair financial settlement is reached.
Some couples can find that mediation, where an independent third party is there to aid discussions between a couple, can help them to reach an agreement about how their finances will be split or what will happen to their children.
However, mediation does not work for everyone. Sometimes, a spouse may refuse to attend or even attend and then purposefully delay the process.
A good solicitor should be able to advise you when to call it a day with mediation and when court may be necessary.
Most importantly, no-one should feel intimidated by their spouse, through lack of communication or for any other reason, into accepting a financial settlement that is not appropriate for them.
Court should normally be seen as a last resort. However, everyone’s circumstances are different and what may work for one person may not work for another. Obtaining legal advice about your personal situation is highly recommended.
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