When most people start divorce negotiations, they usually have little or no experience with the process. Understanding some common mistakes and how they can impact your own divorce process may help you make better decisions and speed up the negotiations.
The top mistakes commonly made when negotiating a divorce:
- WANTING REVENGE: The cause of divorce has no bearing on the outcome in the courts, in Canada, so do not expect to get revenge or make your ex-partner pay more because you are the better person. This strategy just increases your costs – you may as well just gift your money to your legal team because that is who will benefit the most!
- BEING TOO RIGID: Being rigid during negotiations is not helpful. You and your ex-partner both have to remain flexible to reach fair decisions. Listening does not mean you are agreeing. Remain open to compromise and possibilities – there are some ideas you may not have even thought about. Understand both what you want, AND what you absolutely need. Step back and look at the entire agreement to truly try to be fair.
- RUSHING THE PROCESS: Take the time to understand the long-term implications of your decisions. Fair negotiations take time and you may regret the outcome if you make impulsive decisions just trying to reach the end of the process. Understanding the tax consequences and how things will look over time is smart. You need to think about right now, and how things will look in the future.
- REQUIRING A GUARANTEE: Life has no guarantees or true certainty except ‘change’! Any material changes for either partner may require the re-negotiation of an existing agreement. Life happens – change will continue – that is the only guarantee we have during our lifetime.
- RELINQUISHING CONTROL: You and your ex-partner are the decision-makers. The law is a guideline. Other people’s expectations are their expectations. The lawyers, mediators, and all your advice givers are only guides. You and your ex-partner should make the final decisions together. What advice do you want to use? Do what feels right for YOU and your situation. (If you go to court, the decisions are no longer in your hands, as you are no longer negotiating! In court, the judge makes decisions for your family – period – and sometimes a judge will pick a solution that no one wants, so please go to court fully informed and with caution!)
- LIMITING RESOURCES: Do not limit your information sources and resources. The more you understand about the process the better your outcome will be. Do your research. Look things up. Check things out. You should then talk to as many sources of reliable information as possible. Interview several lawyers, mediators or professionals before you pick what resources best match your values and desired outcome. Do not limit yourself by listening only to family and friends or one professional. By the way – I am talking about not limiting information sources too early – not unlimited spending of money on resources.
- LACK OF PERSISTENCE: Giving up is common when one side digs in and refuses to co-operate and stops all negotiations. Throwing in the towel to avoid dealing with an ex-partner is the easy way out, but the long term costs can be staggering. I do agree that sometimes it is not worth the emotional and financial costs to deal with a difficult ex, but sometimes this is exactly what they are trying to manipulate you into – giving up. Steady persistence can pay off without as much energy drain as it seems, if you can see the manipulation for what it is – manipulation – and choose acceptance and persistence over repeatedly getting emotionally drawn in. Sometimes if you stop reacting and your ex stops getting an emotional rise out of you, things finally get resolved.
My previous blogs on common mistakes made early in the decision to separate and divorce can be found here:
Separation & Divorce Mistake #1: Not Making Your Own Self-Care a Priority
Separation Mistake #2: Not being your ‘BEST-SELF’
Separation Mistake #3: Giving all Your Power Away to Your Now Ex-Partner
Separation Mistake #4: Avoiding Difficult Conversations
Please contact me if you would like help dealing with your separation and divorce. Often we are so close to things, we cannot see ourselves making these mistakes! I can help you keep things manageable!
I do offer a free strategy session. Book one, and we can talk about your situation and what you need help handling!
Take good care of yourself!
The Divorce Coach in Dundas