A negotiated divorce settlement is an agreement that is crafted between the two parties with the assistance of their attorneys. Negotiated divorce settlements appeal to couples that prefer to work directly with one another and avoid court intervention.
Unlike divorce mediation, each party is represented by their own family law attorney and there is no independent facilitator. A negotiated divorce settlement is also different from collaborative divorce in that it does not require the input and counsel of collaboratively trained neutral professionals. However, for couples who want to negotiate directly with one another, this process can be very appealing. A couple often has a clear understanding of how the marital assets should be divided, how the parenting-time (or visitation) should be shared, and what the family support (either child support or alimony) should be. Well-structured settlement negotiations between the parties can produce mutually beneficial agreements.
In a negotiated divorce, the parties will either negotiate between themselves or through their divorce attorneys. One of the party’s divorce attorneys will craft a negotiated divorce settlement and present it to the other attorney. The attorneys will then negotiate with each other, under the direction of the clients, to reach a negotiated divorce settlement.
Negotiated settlements are best suited for couples who are able to agree on the major issues in their divorce. Accordingly, negotiated settlements are best suited for amicable divorces and uncontested divorces. Since the court is not called upon to resolve disputes between the parties, the cost of a negotiated settlement may be substantially less than a litigated divorce. Further, without the lengthy delays inherent in litigation, a negotiated settlement may allow a couple to reach a finalized divorce agreement in less time.