The Cooperative Approach

You will never have any control over the fury and cost of your divorce if you cannot communicate properly with your spouse. Some suggestions for keeping your divorce cooperative are:

Try not to impose your values or biases on your spouse with emotion-laden statements such as, “A decent person wouldn’t do what you did.” Monitor your body language or facial expressions to avoid registering obvious disapproval of something your spouse says.

If you disagree strongly with your spouse’s offer, do not put them down for suggesting it. Validate their suggestion as a possibility, politely explain why you disagree, and then ask for their help in coming up with “something we both might like.”

If your spouse’s answer is “no,” keep in mind that a no is rarely final. Interpret their no as more of a starting point than as an ending point.

Always allow for a three-second delay before responding to something your partner says. This short delay indicates that you were listening to their words and that you took the time to let them sink in.

Be sure your spouse speaks more than you do. You can’t negotiate with anyone until you know what they’re thinking, and you can’t know what they are thinking if they do not have ample opportunity to speak.

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