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Tips for handling your divorce settlement agreement

California’s civil courts exist to mediate issues between disgruntled parties, in turn preventing people from taking action into their own hands. This is especially helpful with divorce, which can be a very messy affair. Once courts hand down their decisions, you can’t go back and renegotiate your divorce. Understanding the divorce process is essential to avoiding a nightmarish divorce outcome that could ruin your future.

The divorce process

Divorce is rarely cut and dry. In California, like the rest of the United States, divorces always result in unique outcomes based on the involved spouses’ living situations. Judges take a wide variety of personal characteristics into account before arriving at decisions.

The divorce process, however, always starts the same way. First, a spouse formally asks the court to end their marriage. In some cases, judges grant temporary orders, such as restraining orders or custody agreements, that last until the divorce gets finalized. After the other spouse gets served with divorce papers, the spouses can negotiate a divorce settlement.

If possible, avoid a trial

Spouses should try to amicably reach divorce settlements on their own. When they can’t come to an agreement, the court holds a trial. In addition to being expensive, divorce trials can result in highly unfavorable outcomes.

Don’t start with hard positions

When you take a position, it means you demand a specific outcome. If you and your spouse start off negotiations by taking hard positions, reaching a settlement might be impossible. Start off by revealing your interests instead of numbers that are set in stone.

Divorces and emotions don’t mix

Removing things that have been in your life for a long time is always difficult. Although emotions inevitably accompany divorces, try your best to keep emotions out of divorce settlement talks.

Unlike everyday disagreements or heated arguments, divorce is a legal process that’s mandated by law. Because of its inherently legal nature, going through divorce without an attorney could leave you in a bad position.