Things can get contentious and heated when negotiating alimony payments with an ex during the divorce process. This is understandable, as disputing over each other’s finances can be a very sensitive topic. It is in the best interest of a divorcing spouse to hire an attorney that has represented others in divorce cases in the past. The nuances of a divorce can be tricky, so many people need help navigating their way to finalization.
Before the divorce can be completed, the spouses will probably have to negotiate over some serious topics, particularly alimony. This is when conflict negotiation strategies can be immensely helpful. Here is some guidance on how to bargain over alimony payments by using a few different tactics:
Your lawyer can role play what negotiating with your ex may be like during a mediation session or other controlled setting. Needless to say, divorces are often filled with strong emotions and turbulence. The best thing you can do is remain calm, even if your ex is being accusatory and inflexible. If things get too heated, you can always suggest revisiting the topic once you have cooled off. If you both get worked up, then chances are the discussion will reach a stalemate.
Know When to Approach Your Ex
Your lawyer may suggest not ambushing your ex with the discussion of alimony, unless you want the situation to become tense. Your ex is more likely to be cooperative and negotiate with you effectively if you have given him or her time to get ready for such a discussion. Propose scheduling a date and time to talk about alimony so that it gives your ex time to prepare.
Only Talk About How You Feel
You may want to refrain from accusatory statements or saying things that only aim to hurt your ex during alimony discussions. If the divorce is particularly combative, it can be difficult to reign yourself in. Don’t assume or guess as to what your ex is feeling or thinking, as they may respond with defensiveness. A great way to express your feelings without coming off as instigating an argument, is to state only how you feel.
For instance, you can say things like, “I feel ‘x’ emotion when you do ‘y’ behavior, which is why I’d like ‘z’ to happen.” How this may translate into a real-world scenario includes, “I feel frustrated with you say you aren’t willing to pay alimony. It’s difficult for me to take care of our children’s needs, which is why I would like to receive this amount per month so they can have the best life.”
Actively Listen Versus to Respond
When people are in a dispute, they often hear only to think about how they are going to respond, instead of focusing on exactly what that person is saying. To practice this, you can summarize what your ex said and repeat it back to them. Then, they will feel heard and you can respond with your thoughts.