I have learned a few things over the years being a divorce and family law attorney and mediator.
One thing I have observed is that men are often result-oriented in a divorce (and just generally in life, right?!). They frequently believe that they have a solution worked out. If only their spouse would listen to them, they could have been done with this whole process yesterday.
I have also observed that while women are concerned about the terms of the final agreement, they also want to be sure that they go through a thoughtful process to get there. Part of this stems from women’s tendency to value relationships more than men.
Another part of this is that men may not appreciate the extent that relationships matter in negotiations. If men understood how much relationships matter in negotiations, they would be more thoughtful in how they approach negotiations in divorce, because as a result they would frequently find that they would get better outcomes for themselves and their spouses.
With more open communication comes more potential options that benefit both people. A great way to approach a negotiation is to start by trying to listen and ask open ended questions in order to honestly figure out what the other person wants and why they want it, in order to better understand their perspective. Without this knowledge, many potential settlement options will go undiscovered, which results in lost opportunities for both people.
Of course generalizations about men and women are not always fair or accurate, but what negotiation professionals understand is that—regardless of gender—if a person feels valued and respected, they are more likely to show the same value and respect in return. The result of this mutual respect is that communication between the two people, in a divorce or other legal process, is more open and honest and more effective and efficient, which almost invariably leads to more potential options for settlement and better outcomes for both people.Tagged with: Collaborative Divorce • communication • conflict resolution • Mindfulness • productive conflict resolution • reach across the table