Guest post from Negotiation Experts
According to the American Community Survey, Denver, Colorado, has a 12.4% divorce rate. That means at least one in every eight marriages ends up in divorce.
If handled poorly, the divorce process can drag on, with long-term adverse effects. Your image may suffer, your assets may depreciate, your emotions may cause scarring, and your kids may not adjust well to the changes. With the right preparation, a divorcing couple can work out a process with less stress. Here are five common mistakes to avoid when negotiating a divorce.
Negotiating Based On Emotions
Marriage and divorce are highly emotive affairs. It’s almost impossible to lock out your emotions during the divorce process. Still, acting overly passionate may do you more harm than good.
If you find yourself acting overly impassioned, it’s worth talking to a relevant expert. A family therapist can help you work out some of the emotional pain you may be going through. Denver negotiation courses can equip you with skills that you can apply to work with your spouse on reaching a mutually satisfying settlement. A divorce lawyer can negotiate the legal clauses on your behalf.
When you’re too emotional, you risk making poor decisions. The divorce process may last a few weeks to many months. However, the outcomes can impact the rest of your life.
Be practical about your decisions. Show some empathy for your spouse and kids, even when you may not be in the wrong. Let your divorce decisions reflect your best attributes. Avoid pushing your spouse’s buttons, and resist your spouse pushing yours.
Not Valuing Your Assets
Negotiation courses are beneficial in guiding you to ascertain the value of your assets. For divorcing couples, this includes property value. Many divorce mistakes center around the division of money, assets, and property.
Unfortunately, some couples spend too much time, money, and effort arguing over asset values. This can be because one or both people don’t know the true value. Here are a few pointers on gauging your own and your spouse’s financial worth:
- Ask a real estate appraiser to gauge the value of your home.
- Hire an accountant to determine the value of your business and your spouse’s business.
- Itemize your properties and assets.
- Evaluate your 401(k).
- Determine the value of your retirement plans, savings, and checking accounts.
- Find out the value of your debts and liabilities.
- List out any credit card debt.
- Know your tax responsibilities.
Knowing the value of all assets and liabilities gives a better idea of the family’s financial position. Value provides a basis for working out separation details and prepares couples for the liquidation process. For instance, the couple might want to consider one person buying out the other instead of selling off the family home.
Not Applying Leverage
Negotiation courses teach attendees how to effectively apply leverage without turning the process confrontational. For example, when sending the divorce letter, you may want to include a list of what you want out of the process. It is possible your spouse will make counter-demands. Your spouse may even reject your offer outright.
If there are items that your spouse cares about that you don’t, use these items as leverage. For instance, if your spouse loves the luxury Mercedes car, it might be wise to lay claim to this asset now. Later, you could exchange this value for something you care about more. During negotiations, conceding the car may leave your spouse feeling like they got a win.
Your spouse’s win may make them more amenable to offering something of equal value in return. The summer cabin may hold more meaning to you than securing the luxury car.
Not Putting Agreements Writing
It’s not uncommon in loved-up spouses for almost all agreements to have been verbal. When it comes to divorce, it’s a mistake to not formalize agreements.
It’s very common for divorcing spouses to later renege on verbal agreements. So, it’s crucial to put all agreements in writing. A written agreement serves as a confirmation of discussion points.
When you record agreements in writing, it is easier to come back and fine-tune or revise terms. The written document can serve as a reference for lawyers to draft an official divorce contract. Without a written document, disagreements are more likely to occur.
Refusing To Compromise
Compromise is a key part of divorce proceedings. Separating spouses who remain amicable may be more willing to engage in value exchanges. However, couples with animosity towards each other do best by realizing that they need to compromise on some issues to get what they want. It’s almost unheard of for a divorce negotiation to run its course without some give and take. Most times, a spouse will have to agree to lose one thing to gain another.
Practical couples are likely to decide on equitable settlements. However, impassioned individuals may try to make unjustifiable demands, or even try to spite their spouse. An unwillingness to exchange value may derail progress.
The truth of the matter is, if one of the partners is unwilling to compromise on anything, the divorce is likely to become prolonged and painful. The couple is likely to fight more, use money irresponsibly, or, in some extreme cases, damage property in an attempt to get their way. With exchanges and mutual compromises, the negotiation process can turn out to be quick with minimal loss of value and respect.