Much of the divorce process involves a negotiation between the two spouses. This can be a difficult experience for many people since Americans as a culture tend to shy away from negotiating, according to a report by Business News Daily.
Fortunately, the spouses will have their lawyers there to handle much of the negotiating for them, but understanding basic negotiation strategy, particularly how to handle the opening phase of negotiations, can still help people feel more comfortable with the process.
Negotiations are a complex affair that people approach with different strategies based on their personality type. Some people opt for a very competitive negotiating style, where they attempt to come out as the “winner” at the end of the day. Others choose to adopt a more collaborative divorce style. They seek to find outcomes that are win-win situations, and often operate with an eye towards preserving the relationship between the negotiators in the long term.
While both of these tactics can be effective, it is important for people to remember that they may end up having to deal with their spouse again after the divorce decree is finalized, especially if children are involved. Consequently, even people opting for a more competitive negotiating strategy should avoid burning any bridges.
One of the most important parts of any negotiation is the opening offer. Experienced negotiators differ over whether it is a good idea to make the first offer. On the one hand, it reveals information about what you want to the other side.
For instance, suppose two parties are in divorce mediation, and the husband would be willing to pay $500 a month for spousal support. If the wife opens negotiations at $300 a month, she’s lost out on at least $200, and possibly more since the husband can then make an even lower counter offer.
On the other hand, the person who makes the first offer gets the benefit of “anchoring” the discussion. Behavioral psychologists often find that people have a tendency to treat the first bid as an anchor around which the rest of the negotiation is tethered. This means that a person who makes an opening offer may have the opportunity to set the basic range in which the negotiations take place.
However, anchoring does not work in all circumstances. Setting an anchor too far away from what the other side considers reasonable may offend them or may force the person who opened negotiations to offer a new, much lower anchor to keep negotiations moving forward.
Of course, if you are considering divorce you will not need to negotiate alone. Reach out to a skilled Oswego divorce attorney today. Our firm can help represent your interests and make sure you get the best possible deal.