Using “Interest-Based Negotiations” During Divorce

Using “Interest-Based Negotiations” During Divorce

During a divorce, it’s common for spouses to take a “position-based” approach to negotiations. For example, one spouse may make it clear that he does not want to pay spousal support. This is not an effective approach to take during negotiations since it leaves no room for compromise. Instead, couples should focus on negotiating based on their interests. Here’s what you should know about using interest-based negotiations during divorce proceedings:

What Are Interest-Based Negotiations?

People who take a position-based approach focus on labels, whereas people who use interest-based negotiations focus on goals. Instead of taking the position of “I am not paying spousal support,” a person who uses interest-based negotiations would say, “I would like to be financially secure.” This statement reveals why the person does not want to make spousal support instead of just declaring that the person’s position is he does not want to make spousal support payments no matter what.

Benefits of Using Interest-Based Negotiations

Taking an interest-based approach communicates to the other party that you are willing to compromise. For example, let’s go back to the statement about wanting to be financially secure. This statement communicates to the other party that you are willing to make spousal support payments as long as the payments are reasonable and do not affect your financial security.

If both parties are willing to take an interest-based approach to negotiations, they will both be able to walk away from the divorce feeling as if their needs were met even though they made some compromises. But, if one spouse is taking a position-based approach, the other party will always walk away from the negotiations feeling as if they lost everything since they were the only one willing to compromise.

When Should Interest-Based Negotiations Be Used?

This negotiation style should be used when resolving issues related to property division, child support, child custody, and spousal support. However, it’s important to note that it may only work if both parties would like to remain on good terms with one another. If this is not the case, the spouses may not be motivated to respect each other’s interests and goals. In fact, if one spouse is angry with the other, he may take a position-based approach solely to make the other spouse’s life more difficult.

Are you filing for divorce? If so, contact the divorce attorneys at Adams Family Law as soon as possible. We work tirelessly to try to peacefully negotiate with the other party in order to reach a fair divorce settlement. To schedule a consultation, call 513-929-9333 or email

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