6 Key Ways to Stay Out of Court and Get What You Want in Your Divorce or Child Custody Case

If you and your spouse are in the process of divorce or if and your co-parent are not married but have a child and are involved in a child custody case, you generally have two choices:  you can agree on the issues out of court or let a judge decide them for you.

Agreement is typically the far better option.  You have much more ability to control the outcome than you would if you went to court.

The more issues you can agree on with your spouse or co-parent, the more satisfied you will be with the overall agreement and the more likely each of you will be to comply with it.  And in order to reach a successful agreement, you and your spouse or co-parent will need to communicate effectively.  The best way to do this is by building trust.

Let’s face it, chances are that if you are in the midst of a divorce with your spouse or child custody case with your co-parent, the last thing there is between you is trust.  However, trust is key to getting what you want because trust enables communication.

Here are 6 key ways to build trust and establish effective communication so you can stay out of court and get what you want in your divorce or child custody case:

1.   Remember your primary goal.  What is most important for you to achieve?  Keep this front and center in your mind when communicating with your spouse or co-parent.

2.   Actively listen to understand.  The more the other person feels you understand his or her feelings or position, the more likely he or she will try harder to understand yours.

3.   Mirror what you hear and confirm.  After listening carefully, paraphrase what you heard the other person say and ask him or her to confirm if you heard correctly.

4.   Maintain a conciliatory attitude.  Show that you are open to creating options that work for both of you.

5.   Ascribe positive attributes to the other person.  What qualities does he or she value (i.e., honesty, independence, courage)?  Then you might share how you observed those qualities on a particular occasion, like courage.  But be sincere – it will be obvious if you’re not.

6.   Identify common goals and interests.   Point out areas where you both want the same thing, such as what is best for your children.

It is important that before communicating with your spouse or co-parent, to put yourself into a calm and positive state of mind and focus on what you want for your future.  Take breaks and give yourself time as necessary to maximize successful communications.  Best of luck!

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