How to Reduce Conflict When Negotiating Your Divorce Agreement

One of the best and most cost effective ways to get a divorce is to successfully negotiate a divorce agreement with your spouse to resolve the issues in your divorce such as custody, parenting time, child support, distribution of assets and debt, and alimony.

While part of your lawyer’s job is to negotiate on your behalf with your spouse’s lawyer, you should be actively involved in helping your lawyer be as effective as possible to reach an agreement that achieves your personal and financial goals.

Therefore, during the course of the divorce process, be proactive in identifying not only what is important for you to achieve, but also what your spouse wants.  For example, is it important that she be able to stay in the house with the children, to be financially secure?  Is it important to him that he see the children often or to be able to save for impending retirement?

Then, in the face to face negotiations where you and your lawyer are present with your spouse and his or her lawyer, you can focus on how to best communicate to maximize the chances that a successful divorce agreement will be reached.

If you can agree with what your spouse is saying, simply say “I agree.”

If, however, you agree with only part of what your spouse is saying, restrain yourself from jumping in with how you don’t agree.  Instead, acknowledge the part that you agree with by saying for instance “I agree that it’s important to you for the children to stay in the house as long as possible.  I want that for them, too.   I do have trouble with an unlimited amount of time that I would have to stay on the mortgage. ”

Can you see how this creates space for generating options?

If, however, you don’t  agree with any part of what your spouse is saying, the best thing to do (again instead of rushing in to disagree) is to simply listen for the feelings behind the words and imagine yourself in that position.  Then, simply validate his or her feelings.  You might say, for  example, “it sounds like it is very scary for you not knowing where you and the children will live and how you might not have enough money.”

Believe me, the bottom line is that everyone wants and needs to be heard.  When you listen and validate, it goes a long way to building trust and to ultimately creating in your spouse a desire to reciprocate.

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