Divorce Negotiation

Top 10 Tips for Divorce Negotiation

No one wants to deal with divorce negotiation but unfortunately, most married couples will have to at some point.  Of course, you probably feel that you shouldn't have to do any negotiating because you know what you deserve, but things just don't work this way.  Sure, you can simply give up control and let your lawyer handle everything but chances are, you will end up disappointed.  Not to mention, handling things yourself helps with closure.

  1. Understand Divorce Elements – The first step in divorce negotiation is to understand that it is really made up of three processes: emotional divorce, social divorce and legal divorce. There is a lot more to the process than just being granted a piece of paper, especially if you have been together for a long time and have a lot of mutual friends together.
  1. Stay Focused – You probably feel hurt, betrayed, deprived or even cheated but you need to stay focused on your goals  Take the time to write a list of what you want and what you hope to accomplish and then prioritize these things to be what's most important to you and what you absolutely cannot live without.
  1. Be Strategic – You need to become familiar with the value of money as it pertains to divorce. Know when to give in and cut your losses on some topics because some things are not worth fighting over, especially if you have a costly attorney getting paid by the hour.
  1. Be Polite – When you begin divorce negotiation you may be tempted to lash out and say as many hurtful things as you can think of, but that's really not productive and it won't get you any further ahead.  Unless you have something nice or important to say, refrain from speaking, you can get in your car and yell and swear all you want while you're driving home.  Avoid using any hot buttons that you know will stir up anger.
  1. Get Help – You do not need to take care of divorce negotiation on your own, nor should you feel like you have to.  Consider hiring a coach who is skilled with dealing with the issues you are having to face.  Mediation can also be helpful as well because the mediator acts as a neutral party to help you resolve issues without taking sides.


  1. Be a Good Listener – Even if listening has never been a strong trait of yours, now is the time to make the effort.  Don't plan your response while your spouse is talking and don't interrupt either.  After they have finished speaking summarize the key points of what you heard.  It is only in your benefit to do nothing but sit there and listen if your spouse is venting.  Arguing with them will not get you anywhere anyway so why bother wasting your breath.
  1. Take Control – There is no point beating around the bush or expecting your spouse to know what you want.  Take control and communicate clearly while making eye contact.  Don't ask for something or demand it but rather state that you want it.
  1. Don't Use Your Children – Far too often, children become a leverage in divorce negotiation. They should not be forced to take sides nor should they feel obligated to.  While you will need to discuss living arrangements it is important to understand that they are not property to battle with and they really need to have a relationship with both of their parents when possible.
  1. Clarify – If you don't understand something or you are unsure of an answer, ask for clarification.  This is your life; you need to be clear on all areas of it.  If your spouse is dropping off the kids on Sunday, be clear on what time to expect them.  It's clarification of the smaller things that will make the divorce run smoother.
  1. Don't Break Your Promises – Anyone can say that they are going to do something and then not follow through.  Don't be this person!  All you will do is make things worse.  One of the most important parts of divorce negotiation is keeping your word.  If you aren't sure if you can follow through on something or afford to pay for your child's class field trip, say so.  If you have children, divorce is the opportunity to build a new relationship as co-parents.  You don't even have to like each other but you do need to offer one another a certain level of respect.