In divorce there is often a lot of pressure to settle cases instead of proceeding to trial. Judges, lawyers and even parties persist in attempting to get cases resolved in divorce negotiations. Approximately 5-10%, of divorce cases make it to trial. (The proportion of custody cases is higher). The remainder of the cases are settled amongt the parties, attorneys, through mediation or at settlement conference with thr judge’s influence.
Divorce Negotiations 101
1. Analyze your position. This means understanding that your.
Best source of power is your ability and willingness to walk away and take another deal.
2. Know the process.
Try to carefully negotiate how you will negotiate in advance. Discussing these issues will help keep the focus on the important issues.
3. Listen actively.
Once you start discussing substantive jssues, resist the urge to prepare in your head the next thing you’re going to say next while your counterpart is talking. Instead, listen carefully to her arguments, then paraphrase what you believe she said to check your understanding. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings, emotions and thoughts.
4. Prepare your questions in advance.
You can gain more by asking lots of apprpropritate question. Try to avoid asking “yes or no” questions and leading questions. Instead, craft neutral questions that encourage detailed responses.
5. Be mindful of valuable tradeoffs.
Try to identify issues that your opposing party cares deeply about but that you value less. Then propose making a concession on that issue in exchange for a concession on the issue you value highly.
6. Stay away from anchoring bias.
Tons of research shows that the first things mentioned in a negotiation, has a powerful influence on the negotiation that follows. You can avoid being the victim of the anchoring bias by making the first offer and trying to anchor talks in your preferred direction. If the other side does anchor first, keep your desires at the back of your mind.
There are other valuable tips that help making negotiating settlement more effective. These are just a few that will make sure you are not cheated out of what is fair and equitable.
Waiving vs Settling
In divorce negotiations one key thing to keep in mind is to not give up more than you need to. In other words, it is important to maintain as much balance in what you forego and what you persist on. There is a difference in surrender and submission in negotiations, the main one being you feel in the end.
In negotiations, surrender is when one gives a concession without receiving a corresponding benefit . Negotiation should be a two-way street, both sides giving up something while receiving something at the same time. When one surrenders they usually give up their power or authority to someone else. Oftentimes this power they give up is not voluntarily, but by some form of force.. Because of this giving up,, surrender can leave you feeling defeated, cheated and/or devalued. Even when you think you’re doing the “right” thing by avoiding worthwhile negotiations, giving in without a fight can render negative results.
Submission, on the other hand, is not about giving up power, authority or control. Submission is making an informed decision to give in. In negotiations when a party submits, it is with a knowing and understanding of all involved. The stakes, the benefits, the process etc. are all taken into consideration when one submits. The submitting party usually feels much more optimistic than one who surrenders because of the knowledge and awareness.
You should choose wisely in all divorce settlement negotiations. No one can make the decision for you but it can certainly help to have some skilled players to help you in the process. If you follow the tips for negotiating you are more likely to gain valuable insight on what’s most important for you.
If you would like coaching through your divorce settlement please feel free to schedule a FREE consultation today.