In his South Carolina Divorce blog, J. Benjamin Stevens listed 9 excellent tips for negotiating in a settlement conference or mediation session. A little more explanation is available from the original source, “Settlement Conference Success” by Helene Taylor, published in The Modern Woman's Divorce Guide, but the key points alone are clear and self-explanatory. They are as true for men as women. Many divorce and family law cases can be settled in various formats of informal settlement discussions. About 90-95% of cases will settle in mediation, if they reach that stage. In either approach, the following tips are useful to prepare for a successful negotiation effort.
1. Identify the issues in your case. 2. Understand how the law affects your case. 3. Know the estimated costs of trial. 4. Remain open to unique opportunities. 5. Keep a few secrets. 6. Be determined. 7. Be ready for a little give and take. 8. Be patient. 9. Get it in writing
You will really benefit by taking time to prepare for negotiations by following the first three steps above. That will help keep you on target and realistic. You will know what you have to win or to lose, which is useful information when you are weighing offers and options. Acting consistent with tips 4 — 9 will help you reach an agreement and have something that is satisfactory to both.