If both parties are interested in avoiding court battles and are willing to work, in good faith, with each other and/or with attorneys to negotiate an out-of-court settlement or participate in mediation or Collaboration, then this is best accomplished by:
- voluntarily exchanging information about property, debts, income and expenses,
- identifying the goals and needs of each party for dividing the property (real estate, furnishings, vehicles, bank accounts, investment accounts, businesses, retirement accounts, life insurance, etc.) and debts;
- determining who needs what support and for how long,
- cooperating to put the children first when creating a parenting plan; and
- working with settlement attorneys to draft a comprehensive written agreement Separation & Property Settlement Agreement that addresses all the agreed upon terms and conditions.
With a signed comprehensive agreement in place, then either party may go forward with a no-fault divorce at the end of the separation period. The agreement becomes part of the final order of divorce.
Advantages of Negotiated Settlement
- Out-of-court negotiations rely upon the good faith of the parties and their commitment to cooperate, share information, and seek solutions that work for both, not just themselves.
- Out-of-court settlement negotiations are voluntary, and one party can stall and delay progress by not timely responding to requests for information or settlement proposals.
- Threats of court are not prohibited and the fear, costs and risks of what might happen in court can derail good intentions to settle matters out of court.
- If you have limited access to financial information and your spouse is not willing to share information then consider a court-based process, Collaboration or mediation which require disclosure of information.
“After nearly 20 years as a divorce litigator, I welcome the opportunity to provide to families in Roanoke, the surrounding counties and throughout Southwest Virginia the opportunity to make informed, respectful decisions for restructuring their family, their finances and their futures through the Collaborative Divorce Process, Negotiated Settlements, Family Mediation, or Collaborative Mediation without resorting to contested court battles.”