The key to a successful negotiation is preparation. When you are prepared there is an increased expectation that you get the best possible outcome for yourself. This doesn’t mean you will get everything you want. It does mean you will be fully prepared to make good decisions about what you will or will not agree with.

Whether you are negotiating directly (mediation, parenting co-ordination, self represent in court) or through another party (lawyers) there are considerations that need to be thought through.

Prepare before you start…

  1. Make sure you are ready to face the other party at the table. If you don’t think you can’t, there may be benefit to working with a lawyer to help you in mediation or lawyer to lawyer negotiation
  2. Know your interests and what priority they have. It is more than simply knowing what you want. You need to consider how important certain interests are to you and whether you would consider giving that up or giving up something else to keep it. Take the time to write it down
  3. Make sure you have enough information about the issue, the legal implications, your rights and obligations before you make a final decision.
  4. Consider what the other party’s interests are and what their priorities might be. Consider that the answer might be different now than it would have been before you separated.
  5. Be prepared to consider options you did not think of.
  6. Think about and be prepared for the power dynamics in your relationship and how that will be presented at the table.
  7. Think about how you will communicate your interests to the other person so they understand why it is important to you. Listen to why the interests of the other person are important to them. This understanding can change what you thought your interests were and what the other person thought their interests were.
  8. Think about how you will control your emotions during the negotiation. Know the words or body language that may trigger your emotions in an attempt to through off your negotiation.
  9. Remember that you negotiate everyday in life. Spend time learning or re-learning how to negotiate. There are many resources and tools out there.