It’s common for divorcing spouses to speak with one another to decide who gets what in the divorce.
Divorce negotiations can be difficult, however. They can quickly become emotionally charged, especially when there is a lack of trust between spouses.
The key to successfully negotiating your divorce, therefore, is to respond instead of reacting.
There’s a big difference between reacting, which involves an emotional knee-jerk reaction, and responding, which involves strategic forethought.
With that said, below are three tips to make the divorce settlement conversation with your spouse more productive and help you settle your divorce out of court:
1. Speak face-to-face if it all possible.
Tempting as it might be, divorce negotiations are rarely effective by emails or texts between spouses.
After all, the vast majority of communication (over 70%) is body language.
Therefore, the most effective divorce settlement conversations generally take place face-to-face to allow for eye contact, body language, and voice tone.
Likewise, it’s very easy for your spouse to misconstrue what you are saying in an e-mail or text message.
At the very least, you should wait several hours before sending an email or text. Take the opportunity to verify your words and tone are helpful and likely to be received favorably by your spouse.
The telephone isn’t much better. But if a phone call is your only option, make sure to schedule the call when you’re most likely to be calm and attentive.
2. If your spouse insists on a specific number.
When you start negotiating your divorce, avoid being held to a specific dollar figure – or even a ballpark figure – until you’ve had a chance to consider the financial and legal implications.
For example, if your spouse pushes for a specific alimony figure, simply respond by saying you need some time to think about it. Otherwise, you run the risk of becoming locked in to a commitment that can be difficult to back off from.
3. If your spouse insists on a term and you’re not yet ready to agree.
First take a moment to pause. Then respond by suggesting to your spouse that the item be put aside for now. Identify any other terms you’re agreeable to.
This can prevent a potentially emotionally charged issue to result in a premature deadlock and jeopardize reaching a divorce settlement agreement. You can always revisit a sensitive issue once progress is made on the other terms.
If you want to take charge of your divorce outcome instead of leaving it up to the court, I encourage you to speak directly with your spouse with the above tips in mind.
If you and your spouse have children, it’s even more important to amicably settle your divorce. you will both be joined the rest of your lives through your children.
I’m not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it to be in charge of your future and your children will thank you for it.
For more information about how to settle your divorce out of court or for a personalized consultation, please click here.