Tips on Negotiating a Divorce Settlement

Divorce is often the largest financial transaction of a person's life. The process has a way of bringing to the surface feelings of anger, fear, helplessness, and sometimes even greed.

When you're dealing with such a large financial transaction, you don't want your judgement to be clouded by emotions. That said, here are ways to negotiate a solid divorce settlement:

# 1. Don't let anger cloud your vision. When spouses can find a way to end their marriage without anger, then they're left with more emotional and economic resources to begin the next chapter of their lives. Proceeding calmly and rationally cannot be underestimated.

#2. Irrational expectations lead to higher costs. When you do your research, learn your rights under California law and set realistic expectations. You want to avoid greed – the deadly sin of divorce because in the end it can cost you dearly.

#3. Don't drag out the divorce. Procrastination slows divorce proceedings, so don't do it. The first step is to get organized. To begin, locate all of your assets, and make copies of all financial records, including: life insurance policies, bank and investment statements, retirement accounts, credit card bills, tax returns, deeds, etc.

Once you've identified all assets, consider mediation as a low-cost alternative to litigation. Remember, the longer that you procrastinate, the more you stand to lose. The goal is to overcome the urge to procrastinate and execute the divorce as thoroughly, amicably and efficiently as possible.

#4. Don't hide assets from your spouse. Often, a spouse lusts for control and tries to hide assets from their spouse – which are almost always discovered. In reality, this only prolongs the process, which increases legal fees and distrust, and heightens animosity between the parties. Nothing good comes out of withholding information or refusing to cooperate.

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