Mark Alexander has written:
In many divorces, the greatest causes of conflict are:
-What mudslinging is the other side going to say about me?
-Are they going to try to extract the last ounce of blood?
-What is my future budget going to be?
-When will I be spending time with the children?
In those cases, negotiating with proposed final orders at the outset (Findings, Decree of Dissolution, Parenting Plan, Order of Child Support & Worksheets) can resolve those uncertainties, by showing exactly what you want the judge to order.
- Agreed orders usually don’t need to say much about why the parties want the agreed relief, so criticism is unnecessary. Courts favor agreements in divorce cases, so a judge will likely sign agreed orders, even if one party later changes their mind.
- The financial proposal is there in black and white, addressing all issues. You may indicate that you’re also open to further negotiation, so long as a reasonable basis is provided for requested changes.
- The schedule with the children should be specific, so anyone looking at the parenting plan could say which parent the children should be with on any given day.
Putting “settlement negotiations: not admissible” on proposals prevents the other side from using a generous offer in evidence if negotiations fall apart. Finally, given the stress and emotional turmoil in divorces, it’s a powerful negotiating tool to present the other side with papers which will effectively resolve all uncertainty with a stroke of their pen.