A lawyer’s ability to negotiate a satisfactory divorce agreement or family law settlement is one of the most overlooked and underrated skillsets when selecting a family law attorney. Divorce is a complicated and highly emotional process. An attorney who is a skilled negotiator can help his or her client avoid protracted litigation and the emotional trauma and strife of a contentious divorce proceeding.
Attorney Charles Ullman has been practicing family law in Raleigh, North Carolina since 1993 and has successfully resolved many divorce matters through negotiation, mediation, and other non-adversarial approaches. He is among a small percentage of attorneys in North Carolina recognized by the N.C. State Bar as a Board-Certified Specialist in Family Law. The largest change since he started practicing family law is the understanding of the important role that the negotiation process has in the final outcome. Clients who feel ownership in a negotiated settlement are generally more satisfied with the outcome.
If you have questions about separation and divorce and whether it is possible to settle matters through negotiation without a contested divorce proceeding, talk with Charles R. Ullman & Associates in Raleigh. Charles Ullman will take the time needed to understand your goals and your particular family situation and work with you to achieve a positive outcome. If you are considering separation or divorce, schedule a confidential consultation with a family law attorney at Charles Ullman & Associates to understand your rights and how we may assist you.
How to Settle a Dispute Without Going to Court
There are multiple approaches to negotiating a divorce and resolving differences without resorting to court litigation. The approaches range from the couple sitting down at the kitchen table and talking through their differences, to having their attorneys exchange proposals on their behalf, to court-ordered mediation sessions and collaborative divorce. The alternatives to litigation include:
Negotiation—Financial issues play a role in many divorces. When your life is in turmoil, the challenge of negotiating the terms of child and spousal support, dividing property and establishing child custody arrangements can seem overwhelming. You need a compassionate attorney to guide you through the process. A skilled family law attorney who is experienced at handling these issues can help you avoid the strife of highly contentious court litigation and avoid a financial crisis.
Alternative Dispute Resolution—Alternative dispute resolution encompasses various procedures such as mediation and collaborative divorce for resolving disputes about custody, child support, alimony, post-separation support and equitable distribution of property. Alternative approaches to litigation can lower the costs of getting a divorce and reduce the acrimony of battling with a spouse in court.
Mediation— Mediation is a type of dispute resolution. An attorney serves as a neutral family law mediator and tries to guide the discussion of issues related to separation and divorce in a constructive direction. The mediator seeks to help the divorcing couple find areas of agreement in the issues that arise with the end of a marriage. Divorcing couples may decide to try mediation on their own or be referred to mediation by a court. Mediation remains private, so the intimate details of your marriage are not aired in public, as they are in a contested divorce hearing. The cost of mediation is generally much less than expensive than going to trial in family law court
Settlement Conferences—Mediated settlement conferences are informal legal proceedings that may be ordered by the Family Law court. The court may require the two spouses to meet with a neutral mediator to discuss their differences and explore options to resolve the conflicts without protracted litigation. The mediator will explain the rules guiding the discussion at the settlement conference and try to find ways to reach agreements. If the couple is unable to reach an agreement, their case will go back on the court calendar for further litigation.
Collaborative Divorce— Collaborative divorce is a form of dispute resolution. It’s intended to spare the divorcing couple the conflict and emotional trauma of contested litigation. During a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse each have an attorney who is trained in the collaborative divorce process. You sit down and work to negotiate the framework of a divorce settlement that represents the best interests of you, your spouse and your children. You agree first of all to take court litigation off the table. Various professionals with expertise in finance and custody issues assist in the process. It is a voluntary process, so it works best when both sides are willing participants. If you and your spouse are able to reach a collaborative divorce, it protects your privacy.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Negotiate My Divorce?
Some people approach the end of a marriage, expecting to fight with his or her spouse for years to get every cent the other has. Others expect that a divorce will be relatively easy to negotiate and there is no need to hire a lawyer. However, most divorce cases don’t fall into either of those categories.
Most divorces are resolved through negotiation. Your attorney will take care of the practical steps necessary to negotiate a divorce settlement that covers all of the relevant issues. Your attorney will make sure that both sides have provided the financial documents such as bank statements, tax returns, brokerage statements and other information needed to determine the value of the marital estate and reach a settlement. It is important to provide all the necessary financial information and not try to hide any accounts.
North Carolina law favors equitable distribution of marital property and debts between you and your spouse. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean a 50-50 division of assets and debts. Your attorney can help you understand what is fair and reasonable to expect in your specific situation.
An experienced lawyer can educate you about the law and provide guidance about the likely outcomes in a given situation. A knowledgeable and compassionate lawyer at Charles Ullman & Associates can help you think through your case with your long-term goals in mind and maintain reasonable expectations throughout the process.
How Our Law Firm Prepares You for Family Law Negotiations
Your attorney will help you understand the applicable North Carolina law and how it applies to the facts of your case and how those things combine to provide a range of possible results. Your attorney will help you understand the best possible outcome and the worst possible outcome based on the facts of your situation. Our law firm can provide insight into how a family law judge is likely to decide an issue if it is not resolved through negotiation.
We will help you understand what aspects of your family law case are negotiable and what are not negotiable. We will help you understand the tax consequences of your divorce and the division of assets. For example, if you receive alimony, you must pay taxes on that income. However, child support is non-taxable.
The ability to say “No” is difficult, particularly when dealing with your spouse. An experienced attorney can negotiate on your behalf and prevent you from being bullied by a spouse into an unreasonable divorce settlement. If you would like to learn more about negotiating a divorce settlement, please contact a Raleigh family law attorney at Charles Ullman & Associates.
What Do We Need to Reach a Settlement?
There are numerous issues that need to be decided as part of a divorce. The four major issues that need to be resolved to reach a settlement include:
- Child custody arrangements
- Child support
- Division of marital assets and debts
These are challenging issues, and divorcing couples understandably may have strong differences of opinion about what is an appropriate resolution. But if you are able to communicate, you may be able to negotiate a settlement of issues and save thousands of dollars on the cost of getting divorced. An attorney who is a skilled negotiator can help facilitate the negotiations and work to keep them on a constructive track.
At Charles Ullman & Associates, we understand that the consequences of your divorce will affect you and your family for years to come. Our compassionate legal team has the knowledge and experience to negotiate the best possible divorce settlement for you.
Guiding clients through the process of ending a marriage and moving forward is a responsibility that we take seriously at Charles Ullman & Associates. Call today to schedule a consultation with Charles Ullman & Associates.