Negotiating can be tough at the best of times let alone when you are going through a relationship break down. It is very common for separating couples to reach an impasse, a situation in which no progress is possible, when trying to work out a way forward after their relationship has come to an end. In this blog, we look at some top tips on how you can deal with this.

Get into problem-solving mode

Try to move away from a win/lose style of negotiating. Set aside combative or competitive negotiation. Focus on trying to find a solution that can work for you both. Break bigger issues into bite-sized chunks to try and make resolving matters more manageable.

Look for any positives

Getting stuck when negotiating can compound any feelings of failure or uselessness that maybe lingering following the relationship not working out. Try and reflect on any common ground between you or issues that you have managed to work out.

Information gathering

Is there sufficient information to be able to make a decision about the issue you are stuck on? Sometimes it is difficult to make decisions about how to move forward when information is missing, unclear or misunderstood.

Understand context

Don’t make assumptions. Sometimes negotiations reach a stalemate due to a lack of understanding about why someone is taking the position that they are and what their worries and anxieties are around compromising. Be curious. Try to understand where you are each coming from both from an emotional and practical point of view. It can help if you both consider how the other may be feeling. It is normal for you each to have different perceptions of what is fair. If you have children keep them in the forefront of your mind and focus on the impact any outcome will have on them.

Consider the alternatives

If you can’t work out a solution together what are the other options available? Options such as mediation, hybrid mediation, the collaborative process, round table meetings with lawyers, early neutral evaluation, a private financial dispute resolution meeting, arbitration or court could be considered. The pros and cons of each option, including the costs and time involved, should be carefully weighed up.

How far apart are you

The distance between you might not be as big as it feels. It can sometimes help to draw up a visual aid to illustrate the difference between you in reality. Is the amount in dispute actually worth the time, stress and costs of fighting over? Whilst the outcome might not be what either of you had in mind is it enough overall for you both to live with going forward?

Time and space

What you are negotiating over may have taken years to have built up, you shouldn’t necessarily expect to be able to resolve matters straightaway. It may take time. Sometimes impasse is reached out of pure exhaustion. Providing some time and space to reflect can often ultimately lead to progress being made.

Our specialist team – consisting of lawyers, mediators, collaborative practitioners and an arbitrator – as well as the extensive network of counsellors, therapists, family consultants, and financial advisers we work with are all highly trained to help separating couples move forward with their lives. If you would like to talk to us to see how we can help you please get in touch with a member of our team.

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