“Who needs a divorce lawyer? I don’t!”

Maybe not, but if you are trying to negotiate the terms of a divorce in Maryland on your own, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

1. Meet in a neutral place. - If possible, see if a mutual friend will lend you their living room for a couple of hours. It’s best to avoid meeting in your own home (especially if you have children) or public places when discussing private matters.

2. Make a plan. - Set a start time, a finish time, and prepare an agenda to discuss at each meeting. This will let you know what to expect and how to prepare, and it will ensure that you get something accomplished. Each successful meeting will give both spouses hope for a smooth resolution.

3. Start small. - Don’t tackle the big issues immediately. Start with some of the smaller details. This will help rebuild trust in the relationship and help you and your spouse find common ground that may make it easier to tackle the big stuff.

4. Keep it moving. - You won’t agree on everything. If you’re stuck on a particularly controversial point, move on to something else for a while.

5. Be willing to compromise. - If you insist on your own way with each issue, nothing will get done. Be willing to give a little so that you can each end up a little happier with the final result. Think outside of the box and don’t be too quick to dismiss any one idea.

6. Don’t take it personally. - Even if your spouse is being vindictive, the better you are at keeping your emotions out of it, the better off you will be when it’s done.

7. Stay positive. - The attitude at the negotiating table can make a world of difference. Maintain a positive attitude as much as possible. Don’t resort to negativity or name-calling, which will only make matters worse.

8. Take breaks. - If the discussion gets heated, go ahead and take a break to calm down. If necessary, you may need to reschedule for another date.

9. Keep the kids out of it. - Your children are already having a difficult time with the divorce. Don’t make it any worse on them.

10. Enlist a mediator. - You may find you still need help ironing out those last few big issues. If so, call an experienced Maryland divorce and family lawyer for help. For a free consultation, call Nickelsporn & Lundin at 1-800-875-9700.