Best Negotiation Tactics for Collaborative Divorce

When you choose collaborative divorce in North Carolina, you have to approach things with a slightly different mindset than you would for a typical, adversarial divorce. Compared to a normal divorce trial, the collaborative divorce process relies heavily on negotiation skills. Instead of trying to “prove” your case to a judge, you are really trying to “persuade” your spouse to understand your way of thinking, your needs, and your goals. On that same note, you must also keep an open mind and be ready to compromise with your spouse.

Perhaps you have never really encountered negotiation tactics before, and you feel unsure about how your collaborative divorce will pan out. On the other hand, you may be well-versed in negotiation tactics due to your work experience or other past experiences. Perhaps you are a naturally skilled negotiator who knows exactly how to get what you want. Maybe you naturally shy away from confrontation and tend to accept other people’s demands without making a fuss.

Whatever the case may be, it makes sense to work with a qualified, experienced divorce attorney in North Carolina who understands this process. Not only can your divorce attorney help you tackle the legal matters related to your collaborative divorce, but they can also bring their own negotiation skills to the table. Whether you consider yourself a skilled negotiator or not, it is usually a good idea to put some distance between yourself and the matter at hand. This helps prevent strong emotions and inherent biases from getting in the way of the negotiation process. A qualified, experienced divorce attorney can help you achieve this goal.

Explore All the Options

When developing a divorce agreement, it is important to explore all of the various options on the table. Even if certain options seem completely unfeasible, you should at least review them. You never know whether certain possibilities could be beneficial until you explore them fully. For example, both spouses might agree wholeheartedly that selling the family home is out of the question. However, when these spouses begin to explore the benefits of such an option, they may begin to warm to the idea. It is important not to rule anything out. Be open-minded, and listen carefully as the attorneys explain why a certain course of action might be the best choice.

Base Your Arguments on Data

The best arguments are based on fact and reason, not emotion. If you wish to base your arguments on facts, you will need to understand the data behind the situation at hand. In the context of a collaborative divorce, this means that you and your attorney will need to “do your homework,” so to speak. Do not be afraid to spend considerable amounts of time digging through financial documents, such as W2s, income tax returns, and so on. When you fully understand the various factors at play, you can begin to make arguments that are difficult to deny or push back against. This puts you one step closer to getting what you want.


The best negotiators in the world are good listeners. Let your spouse say their piece without interrupting or trying to deny their claims. If you have ideas for rebuttals or questions, write them down without verbally interjecting. With this approach, you can go back to your notes later and systematically address each point that your spouse has raised. The most important thing is to show your spouse and their attorney that you are willing to listen to their demands. You would be surprised what simple body language can achieve. Nod, maintain eye contact and give the impression that you are at least willing to consider the various points that your spouse is raising - even if you think they are utterly ridiculous.

Knowing When to Walk Away

While listening is important, it is also important to know when to walk away. Now, walking away does not mean that the negotiations have failed. It simply shows your spouse and their attorney that you are stepping away from the negotiation table to think things over. Nothing needs to be decided too quickly, and you do not need to accept a bad deal because you feel pressured by time constraints. “Pausing” the process can also help defuse strong emotions, allowing both parties to return to the negotiation table with clearer minds and a more empowered outlook.

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a qualified, experienced divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We have helped numerous spouses in North Carolina tackle their collaborative divorces in an efficient, confident manner. We are familiar with a range of effective negotiation tactics, and we can employ these strategies to help you strive for a positive legal outcome. Negotiating with a former spouse is not always easy, but your goals are within grasp when you work with a legal professional. Reach out today at 704.370.2828 to book your consultation, and we can immediately start developing an action plan together.