Divorce negotiations can be helpful for spouses in both contested and uncontested divorces. For many couples, negotiating gives them more control over their circumstances. Whether you are skilled in negotiation or not, a Springfield divorce attorney is important in helping you through the process more quickly and with less hassle. An attorney also helps you protect your rights and interests.

Negotiations allow spouses to detail their separation agreement, whether they agree on the larger issues or not. Creating a separation agreement outside of court is typically less stressful and costly than litigation. However, negotiations are still a potentially stressful process, and it’s important to understand how you can more effectively negotiate with your spouse.

Understanding Divorce Negotiations

Divorce negotiations, which can be another term for alternative dispute resolution, is a method that spouses can use to resolve their separation agreement with less oversight and input from the court. The court still has the final approval or disapproval of the separation agreement, but spouses can control what is in the separation agreement and when they are satisfied with it. In negotiations, spouses discuss all the crucial aspects of their divorce: property division, spousal support, and child custody and support.

In an uncontested divorce, spouses may largely agree on how property should be split, but they might need to negotiate the specifics of transferring assets, dealing with tax implications, and other details. Parents may agree on a custody arrangement but need to create a full parenting plan. In a contested divorce, spouses have to negotiate and compromise on more elements of the agreement first.

Even when spouses are amicable, negotiations can have conflict due to the emotional nature of a divorce. However, negotiations tend to limit this conflict and allow spouses the space to cooperate with each other.

How to Better Negotiate Your Divorce Agreement

There are several things you can do before and during negotiations to prepare yourself and engage in more successful negotiations. These include:

Do Your Research

An important part of negotiation is understanding crucial information. This includes the wishes of your spouse, the value of property, and the laws that apply to your situation. Much of this is helped with the support and resources of an attorney. Understanding separate and marital assets and debts can help negotiations for property division. Gather information relevant to what you are hoping to gain from negotiations, but be aware of your spouse’s wishes, too.

Keep Emotions to the Side

A divorce is an inherently emotionally frustrating process. However, those emotions will usually only harm negotiations, especially if those emotions come out as anger. Although it’s understandable to have complicated and often negative emotions about your spouse and the divorce process, it’s important to keep those emotions from impacting the decisions you make and the negotiation process.

Prepare to Communicate and Compromise

You need to enter the negotiation process willing to talk with your spouse openly and compromise in some areas. To have a successful negotiation, you want to determine where you are willing and unwilling to compromise. If you enter into negotiations not willing to give anything up in a settlement, negotiations will not be successful, and your divorce is likely to enter litigation.

Determine Your Interests and Goals

Part of determining where you are able to compromise is knowing what your goals are and which ones you prioritize. Determine your ideal outcome and the worst-case scenario for negotiations. In addition to understanding your own goals, you want to recognize your spouse’s goals and intentions in the settlement process. Focus on your interests and your spouse’s interests rather than on pride, emotions, or who’s “winning.”

Don’t Hide Information

Hiding assets or lying about important information contradicts the purpose of divorce negotiations. Both spouses should be open and honest. Not only could hiding assets betray your spouse’s trust, but it can also result in legal consequences and impact how the court divides assets in litigation.


Q: How Do You Win in Divorce Negotiations?

A: To win in divorce negotiations, you shouldn’t view it as winning or losing. For negotiations to be effective, both spouses must be willing to communicate, discuss, and plan important issues while compromising on areas where they disagree. If you begin negotiations assuming that you will either win or lose, this competitive mentality will make fair and beneficial negotiations much harder and, potentially, impossible. Both spouses will ideally leave the negotiations having succeeded in some of their goals.

Q: What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in Missouri?

A: In a divorce in Missouri, a wife is entitled to her equitable share of marital assets. Neither spouse has preferential treatment in divorce court. Missouri is an equitable distribution state. If the court is responsible for the division of marital assets, it will review certain factors about a marriage to determine an equitable division, which may or may not be equal. Gender does not factor into these decisions.

If you do not want your property to be split by these guidelines, you and your spouse can negotiate out of court.

Q: How Are Assets Split in a Divorce in Missouri?

A: Assets are split through equitable distribution in a divorce in Missouri. The court will review specific factors, including:

  • Each spouse’s economic circumstances, including whether the home is awarded to the primary custodial parent
  • What each spouse contributed to marital property, including economic and noneconomic contributions
  • The value of spousal separate property
  • Each spouse’s conduct within their marriage
  • Any child custody arrangements

Based on this information, the court will decide what is fair. Although the split could be 50-50, it often is not.

Q: How Long Does the Average Divorce Take in Missouri?

A: The amount of time the average divorce takes in Missouri will vary significantly based on many factors, but the mandatory time it will take is at least 30 days. This is the required waiting period after filing a divorce petition for the court to finalize the divorce. Other factors that influence the amount of time a divorce takes include:

  • Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested
  • If the divorce is negotiated or litigated
  • The availability of the court
  • Whether the couple has children
  • The complexity of the couple’s assets

Aiding Negotiations With a Springfield Divorce Attorney

One of the ideal ways to help negotiations go more smoothly is to contact a divorce attorney. At Stange Law Firm, we can help you and your spouse negotiate a fair separation agreement.