Negotiation is the process of engaging in a civil discussion to reach a mutually agreeable compromise. Successful negotiations are based on resolving your mutual interests, rather than demanding the other side meet your position.
The difference between interests and positions can sometimes be difficult to grasp when you are yourself engaged in the dispute. At its simplest, it's a respectful exploration of reasons.
While negotiation between the spouses might appear to be the least complicated option, it can be difficult or impossible if communications between the spouses have broken down.
Negotiating directly with your spouse can help manage your legal costs. Lawyers don't have to be present. You don't need an expensive boardroom.
Negotiation can still be effective even if it does not resolve every part of the dispute.
If you can reach agreement on some of the issues through negotiation, you can even have a partial agreement signed between you only on the subjects which you have successfully negotiated together, leaving the other parts of the dispute to be resolved by other techniques. (For example, you may reach agreement on a parenting plan for the short term, but you cannot discuss property division, so for that you will agree to hire a mediator.)
You can also instruct your family lawyer to enter negotiations on your behalf. If your spouse does not have a lawyer, then your lawyer can negotiate directly with your spouse. If your spouse does have a lawyer, then your lawyer can negotiate with your spouse's lawyer. Even though both spouses are paying for legal representation during negotiation, the process is less expensive than the options.
For this reason, lawyers often attempt a variety of negotiation formats, to help narrow the issues and reach reasonable outcomes before the spouses become entrench. Lawyers may have conference calls, or four-way meetings where the spouses and their lawyers are all present.
Using negotiation wisely can save you time and money.
Continue to Part 3.1b - Dispute Resolution ~ Mediation
Back to Family Law