Using Conflict Negotiation Strategies During Divorce

August 18, 2020 in Uncategorized | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

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After a couple decides they want to get divorced, tension is likely to erupt right away. The heartbreak, anger, and resentment that often accompanies divorce can get in the way of successful negotiation — especially when it comes to alimony. When both couples are at such odds against each other, rarely is one willing to put forth money to support the other without putting up a fight initially. Usually, there is some degree of back and forth resistance before the negotiation makes any headway. Before beginning negotiations with your spouse over alimony, it is highly encouraged that you talk with a family lawyer, who has experience in such emotional and tense legal disputes. 

When attempting to negotiate with your ex over alimony, recruiting support from your attorney and using conflict negotiation strategies can help keep things moving:

Know When to Stop For Now

If the discussion gets too carried away and heated, make an agreement to stop there and continue at a later time. When both spouses are so upset that they close down and resist the process, it can help to wait until things have cooled down. 

Schedule a Meeting Place and Date

Avoid ambushing your ex by suddenly asking about alimony when they aren’t expecting the discussion to be had. Ask your ex if you can schedule a time, date, and location that you can meet to talk about alimony. This gives you both a chance to gather your thoughts and make preparations with your attorney. 

Stick to Talking About Your Feelings

Don’t assume your ex is feeling certain ways, as this can be a quick route to misunderstandings and tension. Only talk about your feelings. For instance, you can say, “I feel frustrated when you don’t want to pay for expenses related to our children, because they are both our responsibility in taking care of them.” 

Practice Active Listening

Active listening can be very hard to do automatically. For most people, it takes awareness and in-the-moment focus to truly listen to what another person is saying, particularly during heated discussions. It can help to acknowledge your spouse’s feelings by summarizing what they said and repeating it back before giving your response.

Focus on the Present

Divorce is likely to bring up all kinds of resentments, past memories, and pain. However, the past is gone and there isn’t anything that can be done to change it now. In order to keep moving towards a successful resolution over alimony, be solution-oriented in the present. Imagine what the ideal outcome would be, and how much you want to feel that relief once the dispute is over. 

Offer to Collaborate

When things reach a stand-stiff regarding how much should be paid in alimony, change the conversation so it can turn collaborative. For example, if your spouse doesn’t want to pay more for a babysitter, then ask what their ideas are for ensuring the children get taken care of during the day. This can help change the tone of the negotiation in addition to helping the other partner see why more financial help is needed. 

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.


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