Monday, July 5, 2010

Emotional Issues and Negotiation Skills

Marriage was an organizing factor in your lives. You and your spouse together made many decisions in particular ways because you were married and shared certain values and expectations. Now those expectations have been turned upside-down. You will be negotiating a separation agreement at an emotionally difficult point in your life, and you will be required to make decisions without your accustomed underlying rationale. This can be frustrating and confusing.

You or your spouse may find that feelings of anxiety over the potential loss of financial security, extended family, home, and friends have a quality more like childhood panic than adult concern, because these losses represent a temporary loss of the "self" with which you have become comfortable. There may be feelings of betrayal, rage, or helplessness. If the two of you become involved in an adversarial process, these feelings may be intensified because you'll be dependent on your lawyers' strategizing.

A mediator understands this state of mind and will keep the negotiations non-confrontational and structured. With your mediator's assistance, you will both be able to speak for yourselves and plan your individual futures.

The negotiation techniques we discuss will be helpful with this process. We will answer questions about how to overcome emotions that interfere with negotiations: how to make trade-offs so that you get what you really want; how to get a reluctant spouse to mediate; how to overcome impasses; and how to develop better ways to communicate so that you can have future discussions concerning such issues as parenting arrangements with less conflict.
by Carol A. Butler (Ph.D.) and Dolores D. Walker (MSW, JD)

To read this article in its entirety, please click here.

For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at

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