Want to be effective at your divorce mediation session? Read this first

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Marriage is about love, but divorce is all business.

Knowing that the business of divorce is rarely simple or straightforward, you’ve opted to sit down at the mediation table with your spouse to try to hammer out an agreement that will keep your divorce out of litigation.

You need to be ready to negotiate — and negotiation is easiest when you’re prepared.

7 things to consider as you prepare for negotiations

When the stakes are high, it’s often helpful to consider the seven elements that experts say all strong negotiators use as their guides:

  1. Interests: What do you actually want in the divorce? What do you need? Clarifying the two (and they aren’t necessarily the same things) can give you more focus.
  2. Relationship: What kind of relationship (if any) do you hope to have with your ex-spouse when the divorce is over? Will you be co-parents? Do you run in the same social circles? If you want to preserve a working or cordial relationship with your spouse, that’s another guiding force to your negotiations.
  3. Communication: Your communication style can make or break negotiations with your spouse. What do you know about how your spouse communicates, and how can you work with that the best?
  4. Legitimacy: What objective criteria will it take for you to feel like the negotiations are being done in good faith? Do you need to see your spouse’s bank statements? Does the real estate you and your spouse hold need to be appraised?
  5. Options: What are you willing to trade with your spouse for the things that you want? What alternatives to a sticking point can you propose? For example, if your spouse wants their full retirement account are you willing to take real estate in exchange?
  6. Commitments: How willing are you to really commit to any agreement you make? How willing do you believe your spouse will be?
  7. Alternatives: What’s your plan if negotiations fall through? Knowing your own “Plan B” in advance of negotiations can help you avoid panic if things don’t go well — and keep you from agreeing to something you don’t want.

Divorce mediation is one of the best ways to avoid a protracted (and expensive) battle in court with your ex. For more information, speak to an attorney about the mediation process today.