How to negotiate successfully during divorce

May 31, 2015  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

divorce solicitor Thames Valley

During divorce and separation, ‘negotiation’ too often devolves into petty squabbling and pointless delay tactics. Finding a way to negotiate in a practical and effective manner is not about getting your own way or fleecing your ex for all they’re worth – it’s about resolving the breakdown of your relationship and moving on. Here are a few tips on negotiating successfully throughout the separation process, whether you’re using mediation, arbitration, collaborative family law, or divorcing through the court: 

  • Make use of your solicitor’s advice and experience. Remember, they’re on your side, even if they have to tell you what you don’t want to hear. You can’t expect to get exactly what you want in divorce, no matter how hard-done-by you feel, but your solicitor is there to help you get the best outcome appropriate to your case.
  • Clearly set out what you hope to get out of the divorce – not only with your solicitor but with your ex, too. Having tangible aims helps you stay focused on the endgame rather than getting caught up in the complicated emotions of separation. Your solicitor will be better equipped to help you get what you want, and your ex is likely to be more cooperative without the fear of unexpected accusations or demands.
  • Prepare to be flexible. It is, after all, a negotiation. If you feel able to sit down and talk things out with your ex, mediation, arbitration and collaborative family law are very successful out-of-court methods of dispute resolution that provide you with a legally binding agreement while avoiding a costly and lengthy court process. 
  • Know where to draw a line and stand your ground. Just because you’re desperate for the whole thing to be over and done with doesn’t mean you should roll over and give your ex whatever they want. Think about your future and look for a fair settlement that allows you to get through the separation process as swiftly and smoothly as possible.
  • Remember that the purpose of divorce isn’t making the other person pay. Separate yourself from the negativity of your broken relationship and don’t become obsessed with making your ex suffer. Instead, try to focus on resolving the issues that got you here in the first place, and your hopes for the future. You’ll find a bit of frank discussion works far more effectively than stonewalling or manipulation.
  • Try not to fixate on the little details. Look at the big picture – it doesn’t really matter who gets the comfy armchair or DVD box sets – your separation should be about dividing up your assets and walking away from the situation as financially and emotionally secure as possible. Do you really want to add months onto your case by quibbling over kitchen accessories or books?
  • Try to stay objective, especially when you have kids to consider. Letting your emotions override logic will only lead to a longer, more expensive and stressful separation process. Sometimes it’s helpful to view your situation as if you’re an outsider – what advice would you give to a couple of strangers in the same situation?
  • Keep your sense of humour and try to stay calm. Especially if your ex is taking the opposite approach. Showing that you won’t be riled or bullied can sometimes defuse a tense situation.
  • Listen to each other. Sometimes a seemingly unreasonable demand originates from a deep-seated emotional wound. Remember that you once loved each other – do you really want to cause more hurt, or do you want to find closure? Sitting down in mediation can be an excellent way to clear the air and truly close the door on past issues.

Even the most level-headed of us can struggle to work through the emotional trials of divorce, but with the right approach and professional help from an experienced, supportive solicitor, there’s always a way to find a resolution. Alternatives to court such as mediation, arbitration and collaborative family law are often the best options for amicable negotiation, offering you the privacy, dignity and space you need to come to a mutually beneficial solution with your ex. For more information and advice on the different options for separation, get in touch with Frances Lindsay & Co in Maidenhead, Beaconsfield and across the Thames Valley. 

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