Surviving Those Tough Divorce Negotiations
Divorce is difficult. Dividing up everything—from the property to the time with the kids—is absolutely one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. To achieve the best possible outcomes, then, you’re going to have to manage expectations and your own behavior.
Think about whether you would like to go through the traditional divorce process or divorce mediation. Depending on your situation, it could impact the time and cost of your divorce.
Before You Start
Having well-defined, yet flexible goals prior to any discussions with your spouse is a good way to start. You can keep things realistic by doing your research and understanding the legal requirements with regard to child custody, visitation, and support, spousal support, property and debt division, retirement accounts, insurance, and so forth.
What will it take to ensure successful negotiations? Here are some ideas:
- Make it clear that you are hoping for a win: win;
- Consider establishing basic ground rules for courteous discussion before starting;
- Behave with integrity and grace;
- Circumvent bickering over minor details by staying focused on the big picture;
- Keep your kid’s emotional, mental, and physical health front of mind;
- Speak in a calm voice throughout the discussions;
- Accept responsibility for your part in the ending off the marriage, and avoid blaming;
- Share your appreciation for your spouse’s willingness to cooperate and for good ideas;
- Try to think about things from your spouse’s perspective;
- Propose brainstorming when you hit a wall;
- Don’t panic when things get tough;
- Be prepared to be uncomfortable;
- Never push; give your spouse time to mull things over;
- Compromise—show that you’re willing to make sacrifices;
- Listen to the other side with empathy;
- Resist the urge to interrupt;
- Indicate your preferences, not your demands;
- Take pauses to get your breath as necessary;
- Address situation you have, not the situation you wish you had;
- Center on finding happiness, not on getting revenge;
- Take time to think over ideas that seem objectionable at first.
- If things are really difficult, consider working with a relationship therapist to help.
For Very Difficult Communications
If you’re up against stubborn resistance to compromise, restate your desire for a fair outcome.
- Validate the thoughts and feelings of your spouse as much as possible;
- Show positive regard for your spouse’s insights as much as possible;
- Behave with decorum at all times.
Getting Through Tough Discussions
At Courtney & Mills our experienced Springfield divorce attorneys and mediators are adept at handling tough negotiations, and will support you in working toward the best possible outcomes in your divorce. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office to discuss your goals today.