Negotiating a divorce settlement is not something a formerly married person normally expects they’d need to do. Nevertheless, if you find yourself in this situation you need to make the most of it and come to an agreement that doesn’t disenfranchise you.

It’s important to remember that your ex-partner is in a similar situation, so you can expect them to be bringing their best to the negotiation same as you. The best thing to do is have an experienced family lawyer on your side throughout the negotiation.

Let’s take a look at the top tips for negotiating your divorce settlement.

Know your finances before you start

You can’t properly negotiate the division of assets if you don’t know what they are. It’s crucial that you fully understand your financial situation before you start any negotiation.

Get a financial advisor to help you organise what you own and what you owe. If you know your finances but are still unsure of negotiating with them, hire a lawyer to lead the negotiation.

The cost of a lawyer-run negotiating is much less than what you stand to lose by doing it improperly on your own.

Understand your rights and responsibilities regarding any children

If there are children in your marriage, then the legal system cares a great deal about what happens to them. You need to come to a fair arrangement with your former spouse about how you will each contribute to the child’s life.

It does not take a lot of study to understand the basic rules that inform child arrangements post marriage. If you are unsure of your rights and responsibilities, discuss them with your family lawyer.

Know what you need and predict what they need

You can’t negotiate anything if you don’t know what you want and what the other party is likely to want. While you might not care about the other party’s wishes, your negotiation won’t go very well if you don’t consider what their desirable outcome is.

The only way for a negotiation to work is if both sides believe they are getting a fair deal. If you don’t go into the negotiation willing to concede a few things then you likely won’t resolve it amicably and are less likely to walk away with what you wanted.

Keep calm and courteous

Nothing will derail a settlement negotiation quite like falling into emotional arguments that you’ve already been through. Staying out of arguments can be hard for some people which is why they let their lawyers negotiate for them.

If you are going to do it yourself, you need to be calm and behave professionally. You’re not there to argue about your relationship, you’re there to divide the assets of the marriage in a fair manner.