Keeping Divorce Conversations Productive
Emotions run high during divorce, often making it difficult to communicate effectively with the subject of your consternation. Particularly in marriages where communication was an issue during the marriage, things won’t get any easier. To achieve the best possible outcomes, then, you’re going to have to manage expectations and your own behavior.
Before Negotiations Begin
You should definitely think about your goals prior to any discussions with your spouse. Make certain you’ve done your research and understand the ins and outs of legal requirements with regard to property and debt division, child custody, visitation, and support, spousal support, retirement accounts, insurance, and so forth
Think about whether you would like to go through the traditional divorce process or divorce mediation. Depending on your situation, it could impact the time and cost of your divorce.
Tips for Success
What will it take to ensure successful negotiations? Here are some ideas:
- Use a calm speaking voice;
- Avoid blaming and accept responsibility for your part in the ending of the marriage;
- Express appreciation for the good things your spouse brings to the table;
- Try to think about things from your spouse’s perspective;
- Suggest brainstorming to address difficult issues;
- Try to be rational in your thoughts;
- Avoid pushing for an outcome—give your spouse time to mull things over;
- Compromise—show that you’re willing to give up something;
- Listen to the other side;
- Refrain from interrupting;
- Indicate that you want a fair outcome;
- Couch your ideas as preferences, not demands;
- Take timeouts as necessary;
- Deal with the situation you have, not the situation you wish you had;
- Focus on finding happiness, not on getting revenge;
- Try to establish basic ground rules for courteous discussion;
- If things are really difficult, consider finding a relationship therapist to help;
- Keep your integrity;
- Avoid panicking when you hit a roadblock;
- Expect some discomfort, and breathe through it;
- Think big picture and avoid squabbles over minor details;
- Never use the kids as bargaining chips;
- If you’re unsure or resistant to a suggestion, take time to think it over.
If Your Spouse is a Terrible Communicator
- If you’re dealing with stubbornness, restate your desire for a fair outcome;
- Validate as much of their thinking as possible;
- Draft your own settlement and see what points you can come to agreement on;
- Thank them for their insights when possible.
- Remember that whatever you say could eventually make it in front of the judge. So behave with decorum at all times.
Getting Through Tough Discussions
At WiseLieberman, our experienced Boca Raton divorce attorneys and mediators are adept at handling tough negotiations, and will support you in working toward the best possible outcomes in your divorce. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office to discuss your goals today.