What can you do to make sure your divorce results in a settlement you want?
Here are three secrets to mediation success:
1. Ask yourself that all-important question: What do I really want? If you say you want the house, is it really the house? Or is it staying in the same community, owning rather than renting, or wanting to give your kids a sense of stability? Whatever it is, keep this firmly in mind as you enter negotiations. Maybe you will get the house, but if you remain open to possibilities, something equally good — or even better — has the chance to present itself.
2. State your goals, but name your bargaining chips. Make a two-column list. In one, list your demands, from the house to the flat screen TV to your stock portfolio to your desired child custody arrangement. In the column next to this, list any bargaining chips that are relevant to this item. If you get the flat screen TV, you are willing to give up the iPad or pay $500 cash. If you get the stock portfolio, you are willing to give up a larger percent of your company 401K, etc.
3. Be patient. It would be nice if your spouse could be equally reflective upon entering mediation, but don’t expect this to be the case. If there is a standoff on certain issues, this is where the mediator comes in to help. If you do have private time with the mediator at this point, you may want to share your higher goals to see if this can spark a creative solution to the impasse. Your ex will think they’ve won a victory (let him or her, it’s good for further negotiations!), but you will know that you just got exactly what you wanted.
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