What to keep in mind when negotiating a divorce settlement

The good news is that Rhode Island ranks 36th among the states with the highest divorce rates. While ending a marriage isn't as common here as in many other states, there are still times when a union of this nature needs to be legally dissolved. Regardless of the circumstances involved, one of the first steps in this process is making an attempt to negotiate a fair settlement between parties.

Prior to negotiations, it's often beneficial for both parties to know where they stand financially independent of assets shared with their spouse. This information is often used to determine specific amounts for spousal or child support. It's also helpful for parties to understand possible best- and worst-case scenarios based on their situation, which can help a divorce lawyer determine how to approach negotiations on behalf of a client.

When possible, it helps to realistically know what the other spouse is likely to want or need in a settlement. The other spouse being represented in the negotiations may make a similar list of what they're seeking in order of what's most important. Establishing a budget that includes living expenses and other necessities can help with this process. Doing so allows an attorney to have specific requests in mind when working out details with the other party.

An understanding of legal rights and duties is important in divorce, especially when issues such as property division and child custody are involved. An attorney acting as a mediator may help clients know what they can legally ask for in a settlement. For instance, there are guidelines that apply when setting up parental visitation schedules. A lawyer may also determine who legally owns what assets and whether some of those assets are considered joint property.

Source: Ranker, "The Highest U.S. Divorce Rates By State," Taylor Ratcliff, 2018

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