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Negotiating Against Yourself in Divorce

We are starting to notice a few Divorce Financial Planning trends in 2013 and will write about a couple over the next few weeks.

The first trend is what we call Negotiating Against Yourself. Negotiating Against Yourself in a divorce financial settlement happens when one party makes all the offers for settlement.

Assume a Husband makes an offer for a financial settlement in a divorce. Wife has four options. 1) Respond yes and accept the offer 2) Respond no and decline the offer 3) Respond with a counter offer 4) Don’t respond at all.

Each of the options can be a negotiation tactic. Negotiating Against Yourself is a common result and often the desired result for the negotiator who chooses option 4. The recipient of a settlement offer, the Wife in this case, may choose not to respond hoping the other party will grow tired of waiting and make another offer.

Most people in the Husband’s shoes in this example will grow restless, assume their original offer was simply not good enough and make another.

Making two offers before the opposing party in your negotiation makes their first is Negotiating Against Yourself. The Husband in this case must make progressively better offers in order to garner his wife’s response. As offers get better for her they get worse for him.

5 Financial Negotiation Strategies for Divorce

“What are 5 things people who are somewhere in the divorce process should think about?”

  1. Avoid deciding financial issues piecemeal instead of understanding the big picture.
  2. Do not allow your former spouse to use financial data as a weapon against you. The cost of divorce proceedings can be directly correlated to the amount of time and effort it takes to level the information playing field “discovery”.
  3. Budget, Budget, Budget
  4. Do cost benefit and risk versus reward analysis with your CDFA and attorney
  5. Understand that not all lawyers are skilled in resolving disputes. They are always trained to create and escalate them. Dispute resolution is a whole different world.