THE 7 STAGES OF DIVORCE are: PANIC, DENIAL, AGONY, RAGE, EPIPHANY, NEGOTIATION and PEACE
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STAGE VI NEGOTIATION
NEGOTIATION requires that we first negotiate with ourselves before we make binding legal decisions. Once we have chosen what compromise we can endure and what is intolerable, we are ready to proceed.
'After the initial numbness begins to wear off, it is important to help the parties recognize what they are losing and what they are not losing. This is very difficult, especially if it is hard for the parties to accept the reality of the losses that they have to face. It takes time and patience, and love, and persistence for the family to understand that their options cannot be the same as they were before. Once they realize this, they can often negotiate in a much better frame of mind, realizing that they will win some points and lose some points, but in the end, negotiation assists them to assess what is really important to each individual and work toward a reasonable goal for each person involved.' Deanie Kramer, mediator for Divorce Court Television and founder of Divorce Resource
"Most divorce cases are resolved as a result of negotiation rather than as a result of a court deciding issues. However, one must be prepared for negotiation just as one would be for a trial so that a person is settling knowing full well the strengths and weaknesses of his/her case on all issues. No settlement is perfect and by the very nature of the negotiation process, compromise by both parties is essential. Try to attain what you want on the issues most important to you and compromise on the less meaningful things. The old cliche that a good settlement is one which is disliked by both sides is often true, but with an open mind and realistic compromise, a settlement which is fair to both sides can be achieved." Mark Patt, Esq. Managing Partner of Trope and Trope
Dear Divorce Coach,
My husband always fights with me about the bills, even though I earn more than he does. Our budget is ruining our marriage. When can I do?
In Debtor's Prison
When a marriage is solid and there is one area of discord it is crucial to consider which of each of your husbands' and your needs are not met by the way you are handling money. The current financial arrangements obviously don't work for you because they don't meet your needs for respect for your own earning power and you probably have a need for freedom and more fun in your life. I am guessing that your need for peace is now the most important issue for you. Your husband's key need may be for safety, financial independence for the family or even for self-respect when he considers that you earn more than he does. Create the opportunity for him to discuss his needs with you, and let him see that it is safe for him to speak honestly and openly and that you respect his preferences as well as your own. At the same time, you will want to demonstrate that you love him and are committed to the marriage. Once that has been completed, and you have heard all of his feelings and needs he will begin to be able to hear what your thoughts are and a satisfying solution can be found.
The Divorce Coach
Dear Divorce Coach,
My wife and I have settled everything; but every time we discuss joint custody of our children; she becomes frantic and starts a fight. Do you have any advice about this?
Out of Joint-custody
Dear Out of Joint,
It has been my experience that some husbands and wives fight harder for custody than for finances. If you have young children, the biological wrench for her as the mother may motivate you to consider visitation and holidays for the next few years. However, I am urging you not to relinquish joint custody if that is the norm in your state or if you can negotiate for it and suggest that you make a temporary offer for the years when the children are young. At the same time, negotiate to receive a benefit that you seek. If you discuss this with her, showing your willingness to meet her needs and to have yours met, as well, then you will be in sync. As in a game of gin rummy, each player often prefers different assets but wants to win. In marital issues and specifically with custody, you may need to compromise and consider The Judgment of Solomon.
The Divorce Coach
Dear Divorce Coach
My wife and I have been playing 'suit; counter-suit' in our divorce. It began, because we were both angry. However, the legal fees are outrageous. What can I do now?
Sick of the citations
You have seen the cost of non-negotiation. At this time, I advise you to confer with a CPA firm with expertise in dissolutions. A certified divorce financial analyst or accountant specializing in dissolution will create the spread sheet and total figures required by your state's legal system if child support is part of your divorce. At that time you will also receive recommendation for spousal support. Once you have your first meeting with the mediator and your spouse, you will have clarified the issues to be considered and you will learn the financial formula the court will use in your case, if you were forced to allow a judge to rule and decide for you. You may opt to use the same financial expert or two different experts so that a compromise may be reached. You may also wish to confer with another attorney if you believe that every effort has not been made to settle your case appropriately. Then with the CPA's suggestion of the family court's guidelines for support, you have your negotiation stance mapped out. Mediation works in many more situations than you might imagine. In high-stress divorce scenarios, I pioneered an extension of the traditional caucus within mediation which I call divorce coaching. In traditional mediation, when one partner is experiencing a high degree of stress, the mediator accompanies that partner to a separate and private room so that the mediator may deflect the emotions by hearing the spouse's concerns. After each caucus, the mediator maintains the client's request for privacy so that issues that have been discussed during a caucus are not included in the mediation process. If the client decides to share the content of the conversation with the other client, that is permitted. For some couples, the caucus takes place during the mediation process and offers enough support. However, I have seen that this strategy may be cost-prohibitive as mediation comes to a halt during each caucus and it is also additionally stressful for the spouse waiting in the mediation room. Sometimes, one or both partners find it extremely difficult to maintain the tone of voice and demeanor that allows mediation to go forward, yet at the same time they may have the need for mediation instead of the costly and emotionally trying process of litigation. Rather than stopping the mediation repeatedly in order to caucus, and in situations where calm conversation is challenging for one or both partners, divorce coaching is an invaluable process. Divorce Coaching allows you and your spouse to learn and practice techniques to bring yourselves back to peace so that mediation may successfully proceed to its conclusion.
The Divorce Coach
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