How to negotiate like a pro. Insider negotiating strategies to get what to want from your divorce fast.

Man on a Ledge - Negotiating Divorce

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How to negotiate like a pro. Insider negotiating strategies to get what to want from your divorce fast.

Man on a Ledge (2012) Negotiating Divorce
MAN ON A LEDGE (2012). Credit: SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT / Album

At some point, you will have to negotiate with your ex-partner. Maybe you’ll be negotiating the terms of the divorce, a financial settlement, or access to the children. Perhaps you will have to negotiate all three.

Some people think that negotiation is driving a hard bargain and getting your own way. That is one form of negotiation; we call that Win-Lose. One person wins, one person loses. When you’re negotiating a one-off transaction, such as buying a car, this is a perfectly acceptable negotiation tactic. After all, there are no long term consequences if you upset the salesman; the most critical factor is getting the best price for the car. Negotiating a more complicated deal, such as a divorce is an entirely different matter.

Negotiating the three parts of a divorce

In the UK, the three elements of divorce are legally independent of each other. The problem with the Win-Lose approach is that the losing party will be dissatisfied when they lose the negotiation and may attempt to recoup losses elsewhere in the divorce. Even worse is that the frustration may rise to the point where your spouse refuses to continue talking without the rolling out the big guns of an expensive solicitor. Or worse still, communication breaks down so badly that your situation gets dragged through the courts, costing you tens of thousands and months of stress.

A far better approach is Win-Win, where the parties work together to find an outcome that is suitable for both sides. In this approach, maintaining the relationship is essential, so the focus is on the outcome rather than personal disputes.  

If you think that you could never be on friendly terms with your ex-partner, try to think of it as a business relationship instead. Now, think of a time you had business dealings with someone you disliked. Did you make the engagement easy for them? Of course, you didn’t; you were probably as disruptive as you thought you could get away with. This is human nature, and so it is between a couple who is separating.

If you dislike someone, you are likely to think only of your interests. You will push to achieve your objectives and fight even harder to protect your position. Even if you don’t fight fire with fire, you will not make it easy for that person. You will not attempt to understand the other person to find the middle ground and to work out how you can both get what you want.

How to negotiate your divorce

My recommendation is to find common ground with your ex-partner. Maybe this is the welfare of your children, or perhaps that you are both happier apart. Whatever it is, clear your head of any malice, put the past behind you and seek to develop a relationship where you can work effectively together to get what you both want.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you roll over and give in to all of their demands, but listen, understand and consider what they have to say. Understanding is the basis of reaching the best possible agreement.

When negotiating, always start the conversation with topics that you agree on, or are likely to agree on. Establishing common ground gives you a platform to return to if things start to get heated. Agree on the discussion points of each communication and stay on topic.

Be clear on what you want, and what you are prepared to give. Think about what your dream scenario is, as well as what you are happy to settle with. Make sure that you are clear on what your deal breakers are – outcomes that are not acceptable to you. Understanding your range of negotiation helps keep you on track and identify what is most important to you.

Ask questions and never go first with your demands. Asking questions helps you understand the situation better. By understanding, you may find that you can secure a better outcome. 

When the time comes, ask for what you want, one thing at a time and shut up. Don’t fill awkward silences. In fact, keeping your mouth shut and letting the other person fill in the silence is one of the best negotiation tips there is. I can’t tell you how many times someone has talked themselves out of their position during a negotiation – learn to embrace the silence, it works wonders.

Reaching deadlock 

Negotiation can be difficult and takes time. Sometimes, you will hit an obstacle that appears impossible. When you do, know when to end the conversation. It’s better to walk away and re-evaluate the situation than to provoke your ex-partner and cause them to entrench their position. Try to understand why they might be taking their position, and you might find a potential solution.

You will never get everything you want, but by following these strategies, the chances are high that you will get more of what you want quicker and at a much lower cost if you create rapport and communicate and negotiate effectively.

The case for an uncontested divorce

An uncontested divorce is undoubtedly the easiest on couples and their children. Uncontested divorce essentially means that both parties can reach an agreement about the reasons for their divorce.

Couples who cannot agree on these terms will need to use the services of an expensive high street solicitor.

Not only is a contested divorce expensive, but it is time-consuming and emotionally harmful to couples, their children and close friends and family. It is for these reasons that Easy Online Divorce works with couples to help them agree to an uncontested divorce.

Instead of visiting a solicitor and getting charged upwards of £180 per hour, Easy Online Divorce can get your divorce papers completed almost effortlessly, within 24 hours and without you even needing to leave your home.

At Easy Online Divorce, our Fully Managed Divorce service costs £169. It provides you with complete peace of mind as we manage your uncontested divorce process for you. Everything from start-to-finish is handled for you including completion of all papers, filing them at court and dealing with any queries from the judge.

For more details and to buy our Fully Managed Service, click here.

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