Negotiations & settlement options

Negotiations & Settlement Options

Negotiation involves interaction of spouses with each other to resolve the legal issues arising from separation or divorce.

Negotiation can be done in many ways like meeting in person, speaking over the phone, speaking over voice, video, message or email.

Consider having an experienced lawyer by your side, as only lawyers can give you independent legal advice. The lawyer can help in negotiating on your behalf and interacting with your spouse’s lawyer to exchange information as needed.

Why Consider Negotiation?

Negotiation is one of the out-of-court settlement options available before litigation is opted for by the spouses.

Spouses can mutually control the process and results of negotiation and save their time and cost as the process is cheaper than litigation or mediation.

When is Negotiation not Suitable?

Negotiation is not suitable in certain situations:

  • Where one partner has a history of abusive behaviour
  • Where one partner believes that the other may try to hide any critical information
  • When one spouse needs a court order in an emergency as they are worried that the other spouse may leave the country with their child

When does negotiation fail?

Negotiation does not work where spouses are not communicating or refuse to communicate with each other. It is not the right option if they are not on communicative terms even after taking the help of their family lawyer.
If spouses are not willing to agree on certain issues, they can take support from lawyers to understand their options or apply for litigation.

How should spouses negotiate?

Negotiate Fairly

Spouses should negotiate fairly to allow courts to enforce the separation agreement which they signed post-negotiation. The court can deem the negotiation as unfair if it’s proven that any undue pressure was applied to any spouse to make them sign the agreement. Similar situations include when one spouse gave false information, or the agreement is found grossly unfair.

Financial Disclosure

For negotiating all property and support issues, the spouses should be sharing accurate and complete information about their assets, income, debts. Financial statement court forms can be analyzed for understanding the documents which could be required under financial disclosure.

Control Emotions

It is essential that spouses remain emotionally balanced at the time of negotiation process. This helps them to stay level headed and take accurate and logical decisions.

Understand Your Needs

Making a list of what you need as a spouse can help. For example, if you wish to stay in the matrimonial home, you may be fine with receiving lower spousal support.

Written Offer to Settle

Making a written offer to settle can help to speed up the negotiation process. An offer to settle is a formal proposal listing down the negotiations to resolve the open issues. Such an offer can be made any time, even in the absence of litigation.

Time limits can also be applied on offer to allow the receiving spouse to reply till a specific date. The spouse making the offer to settle needs to sign the offer along with their lawyer.

Offers to settle can be withdrawn if they have not been accepted, even before the expiry of the time limit.

If titled ‘Without prejudice’, offers to settle do not allow the trial judge to see the offer if you decide to opt for litigation later on.

Separation agreement

Separation contract is a legal agreement between the spouses. It includes all matters mutually agreed upon by the spouses during negotiation.

Legal contracts are enforceable and binding on both the parties. Courts can order one of the spouses to abide by the agreement if they are not doing so already.

How We Can Help

At Nanda & Associate Lawyers, our capable Family Law lawyers help in making effective representation for negotiation of divorce settlements. They understand your specific circumstances and provide tailored and customized solutions for each of them. Many legal complexities exist in negotiating fairly and making offers to settle, and an experienced Family Law lawyer can help you to navigate better in those complex situations.

Our Mississauga Family Law Lawyers are available for a consultation. Come and experience our quality legal counsel and personalized care we give to each client.

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