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Dispute Resolution Options: Negotiation

Negotiation Can Help You Reach Your Desired Outcome

Negotiation takes place in essentially all forms of dispute resolution and can occur at any stage. This is the process of going back and forth on an issue to determine a mutually agreeable outcome. People negotiate about all types of situations including parenting time, housing prices, or even what to have for dinner. It’s possible that you have negotiated without even being aware that you are doing it. It takes a specific set of skills to be an effective negotiator which is why we recommend using a neutral third party such as a mediator. Read on to find out more about the negotiation process.

How To Negotiate During A Separation

Informal negotiations can take place at any time and sometimes occur while other process options are being pursued. You and your ex-spouse may be able to communicate directly and negotiate out some (or all) of the issues in the dispute, without the assistance of mutual facilitator or legal counsel. Alternatively, the negotiation process might follow a format of settlement offer letters and counter offer letters going back and forth between counsel, meetings with you, your ex-spouse and both lawyers or even, you, your ex-spouse and a neutral third party. It’s important to note that you will need to execute a settlement contract for the agreement to be binding.

Benefits of Negotiation

When parties agree to take an interest-based approach, meaning to respect differences for the benefits of reaching a desired outcome for both parties, the negotiation process can be extremely beneficial.

  • Informality – since there are no set rules for negotiation in respect to the law, parties are free to accept or reject proposals until they find a mutually agreeable resolution;
  • Flexible – in the same regard as informality, negotiation depends on the approach of the parties. They may choose to try negotiating between themselves directly, or to involve legal counsel; and
  • Voluntary – parties are under no obligation to participate in negotiation and may withdraw at any time.

Drawbacks of Negotiation

  • Cannot Guarantee Outcome –  due to the voluntary nature of negotiations it’s possible for parties to never reach a mutually agreeable resolution and be forced to try another form of dispute resolution;
  • Stalling Tactic – negotiation can be used to keep a party from asserting their rights through litigation or arbitration;
  • No Neutral Party – if parties choose to negotiate on their own there may be power imbalances that do not result in a fair resolution.

Mediators are highly skilled negotiators and ours are no exception. Having negotiated many thousands of deals for clients over the years, our mediators are well-accomplished in negotiation, drafting property agreements and providing independent legal advice. You can relax and have confidence that your settlement will be thorough, detailed, accurate, binding and enforceable. Connect with us to set up an initial consultation today.


Disclaimer: The content provided in the blog posts of Jones Divorce & Family Law is general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice tailored to your specific situation. All articles are current as of their original publication date.