Negotiating Your Virginia Divorce

Posted on Feb 20, 2017 by Katie Carter

Most of the time, divorce is a negotiating process. It’s like haggling and, if you’re like me, and haggling always made you super uncomfortable, don’t worry. It’s really not so bad. There is a lot of posturing, though, and oftentimes the first offer isn’t a very good offer (so the tendency is for some women to freak out very early on). The point, of course, is that if you put your best offer on the table at the beginning, you’d have no point from which to begin your negotiations. Besides, over time, after we’ve had a chance to talk about things, solutions often seem to appear that weren’t readily available at the beginning of the process. Negotiating your Virginia divorce isn’t easy, at least, not at every single step of the way, but it’s also not impossible.
Trust me, you’re far from the only Virginia woman who has been in your shoes. Though your situation may present some unique nuances, there are often a lot of similarities, too. And chief among those similarities is the fact that, at the beginning, tensions are high, and settlement probably seems impossible.
If your husband has said to you, “You don’t deserve anything!” or “I’m going to quit working so I don’t have to pay you support” or something similar, you’re not alone. It’s pretty common, actually. Tensions are often high in the beginning. It’s hard to adjust your mindset, too. When you’re used to thinking of your husband as a member of your team, and then, all of a sudden, he isn’t anymore (in fact, he’s captain of the other team), there’s an adjustment period. It’s hard to filter the things he says through a realistic lens; of COURSE he’s telling you that terrible things will happen, he’s feeling threatened and insecure, too. For some reason, that seems to be what always happens. Men say things to upset their wives, and, for whatever reason, their wives believe them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client come into my office, saying, “but he told me…”, even though there’s absolutely no basis in fact for his statement.
Negotiating your Virginia divorce will probably take some time, but it’s not an impossible feat. If you’re determined to negotiate your Virginia divorce, you’re not alone—and you’re also in the right place, asking the right questions. Good for you!

So, what advice would I give to a woman who wants to start negotiating her Virginia divorce?

1. Get a free copy of our divorce book.

Whether you decide to hire a divorce lawyer or go at it alone, planning is key. The more you know about negotiating your Virginia divorce, the better.
You need to know about the process, so you know what choices to make at the beginning of your case—after all, the beginning really sets the tone for how things will progress later on down the road. The more you know, the better your decisions will be.
If you’re military (or retired military), you should get the military book; otherwise, the regular divorce book will be perfect for you. You don’t need both; they cover the basics. In them, you’ll learn all about the different types of divorce, the questions you should be prepared to ask your attorney, and how big assets (like retirement and real estate) are divided.

2. Attend a seminar.

This kind tends to the same point, but you should definitely get as much information as possible before you start making any hard and fast decisions. The seminar is a great second step, because it goes a little bit further than the books. Instead of just reading the information, you’ll hear it out loud, presented by a licensed and experienced Virginia divorce attorney. Additionally, (and, really, this is probably the best part) you’ll have a chance to ask your questions to the attorney on the spot.
It’s a good way to get a feel for a divorce lawyer, have your questions answered, and avoid paying the fee for a consultation—at least, not right this minute. You’ve got to take some time to think your options over!
For more information, for seminar dates, or to register to attend, click here.

3. Come to Girl’s Night Out.

Technically, this step isn’t part of your research, but it’s still something you should do. Our firm sponsors Girl’s Night Out events at lots of cool venues around Hampton Roads for our current, former, and prospective clients (that’s you!), and we’d love to have you along. They’re strictly fun; they’re not designed for you to get legal advice or to spend an entire evening talking about your divorce (because, let’s face it, where would the fun be in that?). It’s a good time, though, to meet other local women (many of whom are in your shoes), network, and just get out of the house.
For more information about our next event, or to get on our mailing list, click here.  To see pictures from past events or to start networking with our group, go to  and request to join our private Facebook group. (Please, though, no soliciting to our members.)

4. Decide whether you want to hire a divorce lawyer or represent yourself.

It’s totally up to you, but once you’ve had a chance to take a look at the book and attend a seminar, you probably have a pretty good idea of where you’d like to start.
Many women, for lots of different reasons, want to try to represent themselves if at all possible. Usually, it’s in an effort to save money, or because they think that their divorce really isn’t all that complicated, anyway. That’s totally fine! If you’re interested in representing yourself, we have some resources to help you, too.
If you’d rather hire a divorce lawyer, that’s great! We can certainly help you there—and now that you’ve read our book, attended our seminar, been to Girl’s Night Out, and read this article, you’re probably feeling pretty familiar with us. Feel free to take a look at our attorney bios, if you’d like, to find a divorce lawyer you think might be a good fit for you.

Then, give us a call at (757) 425-5200 to schedule a consultation!

For more information about our seminars, books, or comprehensive legal representation, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200, and we’ll be glad to help you sort it all out. Remember: negotiating your Virginia divorce might not be easy, but it’s certainly possible—and lots and lots of women say that it’s totally worth it!