Family Law Blog

How do I negotiate a property settlement with my ex??

Essentially there are six ways to negotiate or achieve a property settlement with your ex.

Working up in order of complexity and cost they are as follows;

1. Kitchen table negotiations.

Some people are lucky enough to be able to simply sit down with their ex and discuss how they want to divide assets. This might happen over the kitchen table or by email. If you can do this, GREAT! This is usually the cheapest and fastest means to negotiate an outcome. Once you reach agreement in this way you can then go to your respective lawyers who can assist you to formalize the agreement reached.

2. Mediation.

This type of negotiation occurs in a more formal setting with a mediator involved. You can expect to attend two to three sessions lasting for about 1 to 2 hours each where the mediator will assist you to reach agreement. Lawyers are usually not involved in the mediation sessions, but can provide you with advice in the background. Mediation costs can be as little as $100 per session and go up to about $1,000 per session depending on who you use. Time frames are usually around 3 months or less from commencement to conclusion. If agreement is reached in mediation then you can go to your respective lawyers who can assist you to formalize the agreement reached. Find out more.

3. Lawyer negotiations.

If mediation is not your preferred option for negotiating property division you can engage a family lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. The negotiations usually occur by letters, emails, phone calls and sometimes face to face negotiations. Lawyer negotiations tend to take more time than mediation and cost more. In my experience most client’s can negotiate an agreement using lawyers within about 6 months and spending between $5,000 and $15,000 depending on the complexity of their matter.

4. Collaborative Law.

This involves the parties meeting with their respective lawyers and other professionals, such as accountants, over several sessions (usually two or three) for two hours at a time to negotiate agreement. This approach requires both lawyers to be collaboratively trained and works towards settlement that considers both parties needs and desires. This method can occur quite quickly and costs are usually around $6,000 to $16,000 depending on the number of sessions and complexity of the matter. Find out more.

5. Arbitration.

Involves the parties appointing an agreed arbitrator who will consider their two positions and then make a binding decision as to how the assets are to be divided. In this method the decision making is taken away from the parties, however in some matters this is what parties need where they simply cannot reach agreement. Arbitration usually takes about 3 months to complete and costs are around $6,000 to $16,000 depending on the complexity of the matter. Find out more.

6. Litigation.

Is the last step for couples that cannot reach agreement despite trying methods such as mediation and lawyer negotiations. Litigation places the decision making in the hands of the judge who considers the evidence and then make a finding as to how the assets should be divided. Litigation can take years to complete and can costs can be in excess of $100,000. This is the last resort for most people. Find out more.


At Accessible Family Law we are able to assist you in any of the above methods to negotiate an outcome with your ex. We are always keen to keep clients out of litigation if possible and have an excellent reputation for being able to negotiate sensible outcomes with lower costs to our clients.

Nicole Le Pou
Principal Lawyer
Family and Collaborative Lawyer.

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