Want to reach agreement in a divorce? Try an Exlusive Negotiation Period.
A rule I have been giving to my pro se clients lately is this: once we begin mediating, as long as it takes, we are now in an exclusive negotiation period. What does that mean? it means that we are in the zone of possible agreement (ZOPA) and while we are in it you are not to discuss the negotiations with any other third parties (except your lawyer, if represented). I find that in family cases, especially divorces I have chosen to become involved in, the input of third parties derails good negotiations. Why? because third parties inject unintended fears and unrealistic expectations onto the process. Also, third parties tend to project onto you their own issues, problems, fears, past unfulfilled expectations, and other unhealthy feelings.
Living with this rule will help you build trust in the process, in the other party which will give you a better chance of reaching agreement.
Thank you Harvard Program on Negotiation. Read the article here.
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