In spite of promises to work together and place your own needs aside for the sake of your children, it is not unusual for an uncontested divorce to quickly become contested and downright hostile. Once a couple finds themselves unable to agree on one or more major issues, they must begin negotiating with the help of their attorneys, mediators, and in some cases the judge.
Since a family court judge is not always willing to listen to what each side feels is important, letting a dispute go on for too long can lead to the judge making a decision with which no one is happy. Working together towards a compromise is the only way to keep your divorce in your hands and that means you must be able to get through divorce negotiations without fighting.
1) Focus on Future and Not the Past
When one or both spouses are unable to let go of the past it is almost impossible to move forward productively during a divorce. Anger, hurt, and pain are all natural parts of a divorce but an inability to look towards the future can prolong things indefinitely.
Beyond discussing parts of your marriage with your attorney in order to create a fair settlement offer it is best to keep your mind on the present and the future. Focus on what you hope to accomplish during your meeting with your spouse or what goals you have set for yourself and your children after the divorce is finalized.
2) No Yelling or Degrading
During negotiations, insulting or yelling at your spouse may make you feel better temporarily, but it accomplishes nothing. Speaking loudly does not help you get your point across, and while foul language or insults may cause your spouse pain, neither of you will leave the meeting closer to an actual resolution.
Instead of giving in to the urge to let out your pent-up frustrations, focus on the issues that need to be addressed in order to get the divorce settlement you want. If you get to a point where you are too upset to say anything positive or helpful, ask for a quick break so that you can leave the room and calm down in private.
3) Listen and Acknowledge
Do your best to listen to what your spouse is saying and acknowledge any questions asked of you. Interrupting or ignoring your spouse needlessly drags the discussion out by placing him or her in a position to feel like he or she is not being heard.
Letting your spouse speak during negotiations, no matter how much you disagree with what he or she is saying, increases the likelihood of being able to speak uninterrupted when it is your turn to talk. Communication during a divorce requires both partners to listen to each other and respond only when necessary.