Exerpt from Taking Control of Your Divorce:
The Attorney’s Perspective, by Marguerite
C. Smith, J.D.
How to Negotiate
a Settlement and Avoid Trial
Remember that in most cases both parties are petrified of going through
divorce. This is so whether they want to have the divorce or do not want
to have the divorce.
Visitation with the
Making it financially
The social implications
(who will my circle of friends be now?)
Will anybody find me
attractive again (yes they will, but it is something people often wonder)
A sense of failure
Knowing that the other
side has his or her own fears, should be a considerable help to you in
your divorce negotiations. This applies whether you negotiate through
an attorney or just the two spouses. For discussions on Settlement and
Mediation options, see Law.
||Know what the
law is and work out the parameters for reasonable settlement.
||See where there
may be a “give and take” natural to a negotiated settlement. You know
your areas of give and take. Try to work out what your spouses are.
||A good way to
achieve a settlement is to put yourself as much as you can in the
shoes of the other party. Pretend that you ARE that person. A technique
that is often used in negotiation exercises is to put two chairs facing
each other. You state your peace. Then you move to the other chair
and pretend to be the other party. You state peace of the other party
from their point of view. You then switch back to your chair and play
your own role again. Try not to identify too particularly with any
particular role. While you are playing the male (you are female) really
play that role. Understand that person’s hopes and fears as they approach
this divorce. Try to identify your spouse’s major issues. They may
not be your major issues, but if they are important to the other side,
they could hold up a settlement. Sometimes if you give a little on
a matter that is of great importance to the other side, you may win
a greater prize in your own eyes in the end. The reason for this is,
if one person finds one thing very important, they may well be willing
to compromise on an issue that you find very important if they can
succeed on theirs.
||Keep anger, blaming
comments and nasty comments out of the proceeding. This type of conduct
is the surest way to bring settlement negotiations to a speedy end,
reopen wounds, and have the two of you battling in court at a great
emotional and financial expense.
||Treat the other
spouse and his/her attorney if applicable with respect. A good way
to act is to look at the other person in the eye (if possible during
this tough time). The purpose of this is to look like you are concentrating
and giving them respect. Hear them out. Listen to what they have to
say. Really listening encourages the other side to continue negotiation
and helps you to see the strengths and weaknesses of their case.
Negotiating Skills by Tim Hirdle
Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury
Good luck with your negotiations!