When you determine that you would rather go a separate way in life than stay in an unhappy marriage, this one decision often activates a series of others. If you have children, for instance, you must discuss all issues regarding their care, including where they will live and what financial needs they might have, etc., before you transition to a single-parent Minnesota household. Divorce is not easy, but it does not necessarily have to ruin your family life either, especially if your ex is willing to negotiate a fair settlement.
It may be less disruptive to your children’s lives to devise a child custody plan and resolve property division matters and other issues without going to court. This is often possible for spouses who are willing to use alternative dispute resolution methods in a divorce. Mediation is one such option. However, if you plan to mediate your divorce, you will want to brush up on your negotiation skills.
Divorce may be less stressful if you practice these negotiation skills
Your ability to mediate your divorce and craft a fair child custody agreement without going to court may be directly correlated to how well you are able to negotiate a settlement. The following list includes negotiation skills that come in handy when your goal is to settle a divorce in a non-confrontational manner:
- Being well-prepared and well-informed before discussions begin
- Listening without interruption
- Ability to ask questions in an articulate and effective manner
- Ability to state your needs and goals in a clear and concise manner
- Willingness to compromise to resolve disagreements without confrontation
If you have never been in a position where you participated in a formal discussion to negotiate a business deal or an important issue in your private life, some of these skills might be new to you. The better able to practice these and other negotiation skills you are, the less chance there is for mediation discussions to become contentious.
There are additional divorce options if mediation does not work out
Even with the best of intentions, you and your ex might discover that you are unable to resolve your differences in a peaceful and amicable fashion to settle your divorce without going to court. If that happens in your case, you can take comfort in knowing that you can convert a mediated divorce to litigation, as necessary.
If you ask the court to intervene, then a family court judge will make decisions on your behalf for every issue that you and your ex were unable to resolve on your own. Regardless of which option you choose, you have the right to seek legal guidance throughout the process.