Ending a marriage is never easy, and many couples dread the added stress of litigation. However, there is another option to consider. 

If you and your soon-to-be-ex can get along, you can negotiate your divorce settlement away from the courtroom and take advantage of the benefits. Here are four main areas to consider. 

1. The marital home 

This is often the most valuable asset. It is probably the home in which your children are growing up, so if you are the custodial parent, your initial thought may be to keep it. However, your home is an illiquid asset that requires upkeep. The mortgage payments alone may make a big dent in your budget as a newly single person. Think about options. Would you be better off selling? 

2. Health insurance 

If you have health insurance, the court will want to make sure it covers your children. If you do not have this insurance now and are the custodial parent, you should request the inclusion of the cost of insurance in child support payments. 

3. Living expenses 

Any child support you receive should also include the expenses required for your child’s daily needs. Costs to think about include daycare expenses, costs for extracurricular activities at school, even the cost of gas to transport your children to their appointments and activities. 

4. College tuition 

This will not apply to everyone, but couples who have minor children must consider future college expenses. Figuring out who pays for what and how to save money will save you a trip back to court when the time comes for your children to enroll. 

About negotiation 

Negotiation is all about two people cooperating to develop a divorce agreement satisfactory to both parties. You and your spouse sit down with your attorneys outside court to work out how to divide your marital assets. The process is less stressful, less expensive and considerably faster than litigation. Once you file the resulting settlement agreement, you can expect a final divorce decree within 60 days. 

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