Anyone who has ever gone through a divorce where there were children understands how challenging it can be to come up with a functional, fair custody and visitation plan. Even amicable splits can become acrimonious with one legal tactic, a cross word or misinterpreted suggestion. If you are undertaking a custody negotiation, in addition to listening to your attorney in family law in Mattoon, IL, take this advice to heart.
Develop a Set of Goals
Know what you want in three different scenarios: Your ideal, what you will settle for and if you lose. Map those out with your family law firm and you can fill in the gaps between each alternative, which gives you a roadmap for negotiating a settlement if that is what you want. It also helps you control your expectations, which will help keep unbridled emotion from becoming an issue.
Develop a Set of Asks
You know your goals if you did the first step. Now, come up with three “asks.” Negotiation is “give and take,” so make sure you know what to ask for if it is your turn to take. Again, have a best case, OK case and worst case set of asks, but also add two or three that you can bring out if your ex asks for a lot. Make those three the types of asks that you know you would never get unless your ex is desperate.
Fair is a Negotiating Point
Often, family law child custody cases get ugly because both sides treat it as if it were a blood sport. In reality, offering a fair arrangement can be as effective as drawing a line in the sand or being willing to shut down negotiations. Just make sure you can explain your proposal and why it is fair if you are asked to do so.
Fair, but Firm
Now is the time to develop a backbone if you do not have one. The entire reason you are in court is to get a favorable custody arrangement; make sure you say what you think is equitable and stick to it. Only cede if you get something in return. Understand what your worst-case scenario is and do not go beyond that threshold.
Remember the Kids
You might really want to score one on your spouse. Forget that. While it may feel good to prevail, it is more important that your kids get the best arrangement possible. Keep that in mind at all times.
Getting to a custody settlement without involving a judge beyond them approving an agreement is more common than one might think. If you use these tactics, in conjunction with your attorney in family law mattoon il, getting to that settlement may not be easy, but it is possible.