What is negotiation?

3. Negotiate fairly

You don't have to follow any special rules when you negotiate. But the process that you use must be fair for the court to be able to enforce a separation agreement.This means your agreement is made in a way that allows a court to order you or your partner to do what the agreement says, if either of you stop following it.

The court might decide that the wasn't fair if:

  • one of you, or someone else forced or pressured the other partner to sign the agreement
  • one of you gave false information to get the other partner to sign the agreement
  • the agreement is very unfair to you or to your partner

For example, if there is a history of partner abuse in your relationship, you might feel forced or unfairly pressured to sign the agreement.

Have a lawyer help

A lawyer can talk to your partner for you. They can help to make sure that the process of negotiating is fair.

Share financial information

If you are negotiating property or support issues, it is very important that you share complete and honest information about you income, , and . This is called financial disclosure.

You can share this information in many ways. For example, you could use a computer spreadsheet that lists your financial information.

You can also fill out one of the financial statement court forms. Many people use these forms even if they don't go to court. The forms can be useful because they show you what a court looks at when deciding support and property issues. They also help you see what type of information you and your partner need to give each other.

Negotiation might not be fair if you were not honest about your financial situation to get your partner to agree to less or .

Tips for negotiating fairly

Here are some tips to help you negotiate fairly:

  • Make a list of the issues you and your partner want to talk about and be prepared to discuss them.
  • Try to control your feelings when negotiating with your partner. It can be hard not to be hurt at the end of your relationship. But there is less chance of agreeing if one partner is not listening to the other partner.
  • Make a list of what is most important to you. For example, if you want to stay in the , you might be willing to accept less spousal support if your partner lets you buy their share of the home.
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