How many Pennsylvania friends or family members do you have who are divorced? If you're even somewhat familiar with how their proceedings transpired, you likely know some who were able to swiftly resolve their differences to achieve fair and agreeable outcomes. On the other hand, you might also know some people caught up in long, drawn-out and contentious court battles.
Now that you're headed for divorce yourself, you no doubt wish to avoid the latter. If you and your spouse can barely stand the sight of each other at this time, you might definitely encounter negotiation challenges. That's why it's good to know where to seek additional support if you need it. It's also a good idea to brush up on your own negotiating skills.
Have a BATNA plan in mind
Many Pennsylvania spouses use mediation to resolve their differences and finalize their divorces. A key factor to skilled negotiating, however, is to have a Plan B in mind or BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiation Agreement) in case mediation doesn't work out. For most people, litigation is the next logical choice.
Negotiate the negotiation plan
While you and your spouse might both agree to enter mediation, it can backfire if you assume you're on the same page regarding the details. It's always best to discuss where you'll meet, when and who should be present. Each spouse typically hires his or her own attorney for representation during mediation sessions.
Use your best listening skills
You've heard it said that some people hear but don't listen. Especially if you have children, mediation sessions will be more successful if you and your spouse are willing to truly listen to each other and to cooperate and compromise as needed. Mediation isn't about rehashing old marital problems. It's about peacefully discussing differences of opinion to find common ground and come to an agreement.
Asking questions is also important
There's no such thing as a silly question when it comes to trying to arrange a co-parenting plan, agree on property division or other important matters. In fact, asking questions can help negotiations progress as much as listening to what the other party has to say.
Converting to litigation if negotiations aren't successful
Divorce mediation definitely isn't for everyone. You might have the best intentions and enter negotiations with a hopeful heart yet determine part-way through that you simply can't resolve a particular issue or issues. In such cases, most Pennsylvania spouses seek the court's intervention by converting their divorce mediation sessions to litigation.