Contrary to popular belief, there is no clear winner or loser in a divorce – everyone involved loses something. Approximately 80% of divorce cases are settled, but reaching an amicable settlement is another story altogether. Very often, estranged couples approach settlement the wrong way, further complicating the situation. Your ultimate goal should be to reach a fair and reasonable agreement which satisfies everyone’s needs.
Here are some guidelines on how to do it right:
- Decide what you’d like to achieve. If you feel emotional, seek the guidance of a counsellor – you’ll stand a better chance of success if you’re ready to move forward
- Make a list of your thoughts and decide if they’re objective and reasonable. You may wish to obtain legal advice on your rights and whether your requests are practical.
- Use the mode of communication – face-to-face, email or SMS – which best suits both you and your estranged spouse.
- Be objective – don’t get emotional.
- Work towards an uncontested divorce first, followed by child custody and maintenance issues.
- Explore financial expectations, division of matrimonial assets, relocation and your future housing needs.
- If a stalemate occurs, seek assistance from a neutral mediator. Alternatively, suggest consulting your individual solicitors to assist you in reaching an amicable settlement.
- If you engage your own solicitors, suggest settlement meetings involving both of you and your solicitors. A great deal can be achieved from face-to-face discussion rather than solicitors’ correspondence.
- Set a realistic deadline for the conclusion of the settlement process. Drawn out settlement talks are tiring and frustrating – three months is a good timeframe.
- As the deadline approaches, ask where both of you stand in respect to any unresolved issues. If some issues are resolved, consider that a success.
- If unresolved issues remain as status quo, consider filing for divorce immediately. You can then settle those remaining issues through a Family Court mediator.
- Be prepared to give and take and try to consider creative solutions.
- If you have children, accept your ex-spouse will always be a part of your life. Being amicable is key to avoid future issues.
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This article does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any matter discussed and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and practice in this area. If you require any advice or information, please speak to practicing lawyer in your jurisdiction. No individual who is a member, partner, shareholder or consultant of, in or to any constituent part of Interstellar Group Pte. Ltd. accepts or assumes responsibility, or has any liability, to any person in respect of this article.