In California, the law requires parties to divide marital property equally in the event of a divorce. While dividing everything in half may seem easy enough, the process can be quite complicated and contentious.
As such, it can be valuable to prepare for some back-and-forth, particularly when you are mediating your divorce and working toward an agreement with the other party. Under these circumstances, it can help to develop some effective negotiation tactics.
Tip #1: Know what you want and what you may be entitled to
In any negotiation, it is important to know what you are entitled to and what you want. Leaving such decisions up to the other person will typically result in you getting less than your fair share. As such, you should identify the specific property that you want before negotiations begin. You should also familiarize yourself with state property division laws to know what is considered marital property and thus, what is eligible for division.
Tip #2: Stay calm and listen
Negotiation is not just about what you say. It is also about how you act and respond to the other party. If you let your emotions take over and dominate the negotiation, you may not get the outcome you desire. Instead, stay calm and listen to the other person. This allows you to think clearly, consider new information and respond thoughtfully. It may also convey a sense of confidence that can be quite valuable during negotiations.
Tip #3: Be flexible where you can
Negotiation involves give-and-take. Assuming you are going to get everything you want is an unrealistic expectation, and holding firm on impossible requests can make the negotiation process come to a halt. Instead, think about where you can be flexible and what you can give up in exchange for what you want. If there are issues where you do not want to compromise, then prepare for potential litigation.
Articles like this one from Forbes offer some additional suggestions on how to negotiate effectively.
It is also helpful to know that while you and your soon-to-be ex may be doing a lot of negotiations yourself, you can have the guidance and support of an attorney to help you determine what is equitable in the context of a divorce settlement.