The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC Legal Blog

Negotiation skills that come in handy in divorce

When you and your spouse discuss matters of importance, are you usually able to do so in an amicable fashion? If not, you can likely relate to other spouses in Texas and beyond who typically wind up frustrated or arguing with their partners when they try to resolve marital problems or issues regarding their children or family life in general.

In fact, if you and your spouse have trouble communicating, it might be one of the factors that led to your decision to file for divorce. It’s worth noting, however, that conflict and confrontation can greatly delay or impede your ability to achieve a swift, fair settlement. That’s one of several reasons it pays to hone your negotiation skills before heading to court.

It’s not about what you want as much as why you want it

If you try to achieve a divorce settlement by stating a list of things you want and demanding that you get them, you’ll likely encounter some challenges, especially if your spouse is opposed to some of your ideas. A key to successful negotiation is to understand why you want what you want and to make that the basis of your verbal exchange. It’s also helpful to try to understand why your ex wants what he or she wants.

Understanding the why behind the want opens the door for compromise and helps determine the ultimate goals you wish to accomplish regarding your personal interests. Another notable point is to acknowledge that you and your ex may have different ways of processing information and communicating.

Communicate in a way that is most likely to gain a positive response

If you give little to no thought about how your ex communicates and you’re more concerned about winning a battle, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. On the other hand, skilled negotiators understand the importance of adjusting their communication to meet the style of their listeners.

Regarding divorce, your top priorities might include your children’s best interests, property division or alimony. If peaceful negotiation is your goal, it’s best to think ahead and develop a strategy that you believe would be most well received by your ex in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

Try to be business-like and diplomatic

When negotiating a settlement in a Texas court or mediation setting, it’s definitely not the time or place to rehash the marital problems that led to your divorce. Most spouses who have successfully negotiated fair settlements in an amicable fashion say it’s best to approach the situation as though you’re negotiating a business deal. Just as confrontation is to be avoided when dealing with business clients, it’s best to try to avoid it during divorce proceedings as well.

Enlisting additional support as needed

Perhaps, you feel ill equipped to peacefully negotiate a divorce settlement. Many people enroll in programs or classes to learn more about negotiation skills before heading to an important business meeting or to court. Others prefer to rely on experienced legal representation as many family law attorneys are highly skilled negotiators.


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