Your Stockton divorce lawyer will most likely tell you to try to work out agreements with your spouse before trying to haul him or her to court – and that’s all fine, but just how are you supposed to negotiate?
- Leave the kids out of it
- Control your own emotions
- Provide (and get) all the facts
- Commit to clear communication
- Don’t focus on the person; focus on the problem
- Keep looking for common ground
- Know your limits
- Be reasonable
- Use helpful, not harmful, phrases
- Avoid deal-killers
- Recognize coercion
- Be willing to look for solutions
- Set ground rules before you start
13 Divorce Negotiation Tips
#1: Leave the Kids Out of It
Your spouse is less likely to negotiate with you when the discussion becomes emotionally charged, so avoid bringing up your children unless you’re negotiating a child custody agreement.
#2: Control Your Own Emotions
When you control your emotions, your spouse is more likely to do the same. Don’t respond to anything in an emotional way; what you’re doing is dissolving your marriage contract, and once you’ve reached an agreement, you can move on with your life.
#3: Provide (and Get) All the Facts
You can’t negotiate a fair settlement if you’re not sharing all the facts with your soon-to-be ex (and vice-versa). If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, talk to your Stockton divorce attorney about working with a forensic accountant.
#4: Commit to Clear Communication
Say what you mean to say, and when you say it, you must mean it. Don’t waffle back-and-forth or be indecisive; your job is to communicate clearly with your spouse so you can reach a fair and equitable agreement.
#5: Don’t Focus on the Person; Focus on the Problem
For most people, it’s easy to get distracted and want to fight. To reach agreements through successful negotiation, you’ll have to focus solely on the issues – not how you feel about your spouse, or what he or she did to you during the course of your marriage.
#6: Keep Looking for Common Ground
Some problems seem insurmountable, but most aren’t – you just have to keep looking for common ground. That may mean giving up things that are important to you in exchange for other things.
#7: Know Your Limits
Enter negotiations knowing the least you’d be willing to give, the most you’d be willing to give, and the bottom line you know you’ll agree to. Remember, they’re negotiations, so you don’t start there. However, you do need a threshold for what you’ll accept.
#8: Be Reasonable
During the negotiation process, remember that you both want to come out feeling as if you’ve “won.” You can do that, but only if you’re both reasonable and willing to accommodate each other.
#9: Use Helpful, Not Harmful, Phrases
When you’re talking to your soon-to-be ex, use phrases like:
- “Please correct me if I’m wrong…”
- “Can we go over this again so I can be sure I understand it?”
- “Maybe a more equitable solution is…”
- “Can I show you where I’m having trouble with…:
#10: Avoid Deal-Killers
Deal killers in any negotiation are:
Don’t let any of those emotions prevent you from looking at your negotiations with a clear head – or from making concessions or asking for what you deserve, either.
#11: Recognize Coercion
You need to be able to recognize the signs if your spouse tries to coerce you into giving up more than what you’re willing to give up. Watch for:
- Deception or misrepresentation of the facts
- Personal attacks
- Plays on your guilt
- Refusal to negotiate or unreasonable demands
- Escalating demands
If you see any of these, your negotiations are in danger and you may need to stop what you’re doing to call your attorney.
#12: Be Willing to Search for Solutions
Solutions aren’t always readily apparent, so make sure you’re willing to brainstorm with your spouse to reach a fair agreement. Don’t be afraid to get creative, either.
#13: Set the Ground Rules Before You Start
You and your spouse both have to agree to ground rules before you begin or you won’t get very far. Make sure your spouse is willing to work with you, not against you, before you attempt to negotiate with each other.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Negotiation?
We can help you negotiate with your spouse. Call us at 209-910-9865 or get in touch with a Stockton divorce attorney online to schedule a consultation today. We’ll discuss your case, find out about your circumstances and start formulating a plan that gets you and your family the best possible outcome.