If you are going through a divorce and have opted to use mediation as a form of dispute resolution, you will benefit from knowing how to be an effective negotiator. Utilizing these skills will assist in reaching mutually beneficial agreements. It’s important to note, that while divorce is a highly emotional experience, you will always benefit from rational thinking. An effective negotiator knows how to separate the people from the problems. Follow these steps to improve your negotiating skills in order to discover options that will satisfy both parties.
During the negotiation process, your role is to be open and honest, to abide by the ground rules established by the meditator so that you communicate effectively. You will need to try to understand the other party’s point of view; however, you do not need to agree with that perspective. You will need to speak up and be an active participant in the mediation process with a lot of the work being done upfront without jumping to potential solutions. You are more likely to be successful if you are able to effectively communicate your interest, needs, wants, concerns and fears instead of focusing on your position on any one issue.
This means negotiating on the merits of the problem, and not the qualities of the other party. If you are having a hard time reaching an agreeable solution on one issue it may be time to compromise. If you and your ex are negotiating who will keep certain assets from the home, use facts and reason. For example, your ex wants to keep all three of the vehicles and give you all the appliances, but you need a vehicle and already have a new fridge and oven. It’s easy to assume your ex is doing this to get back at you and make life difficult. However, dwelling on these emotions will not help reach an agreement. In this circumstance, your objective criteria may be that you need a car to get to work every day, and your ex, who just bought a home, needs a fridge and stove. Since you would both be required to purchase these items, it makes sense to split them in a manner that allows each party to benefit.
It’s a good idea to anticipate objections to your offers ahead of time. This will allow you to strengthen your arguments and be prepared for the other party’s protests. Since you are negotiating with an ex-partner you likely have an idea of how they operate. Ask yourself how you think they will feel about your offer. It’s also important to remember that sometimes objections are the result of missing information. For example, you partner may strongly object to your decision to move to a neighbouring city. Your partner may see this as you trying to interfere with their access to the children. In reality, your newly single income does not allow you to afford childcare and your parents, who reside in the neighbouring city, have agreed to help watch the children. Once all the facts are known, the move in fact may be a beneficial solution for both parties.
If you are considering separation and are interested in learning more about mediation, connect with us to set up an initial consultation. Our mediators, Lindsay Ewens-Jones and Dereck Jones offer complimentary 30 minute consultations.