Compromising in divorce isn't about giving in or losing to your ex. It's about deciding what is really important to you so you can choose which battles to fight and which to concede. The following article provides plenty of tips on how to untangle the emotional aspects from the divorce negotiations so can get what you really need.
By Donna Ferber
Some women find that going through a divorce inspires them to finally stand up for themselves in ways they never have before. Bravo! Not letting others walk over the top of you, changes you from a victim into a survivor. Learning assertiveness skills and how to use them can help you create better personal relationships with others, while assisting you in getting what you need.
Sometimes in an attempt to salve our anger or pain, we may become inflexible and unwilling to give in on anything. When we become that rigid, we cross the line into aggressive behavior. In doing so, we create additional problems for ourselves such as higher legal bills, increased acrimony with our ex, tension with our kids and more stress for ourselves.
Rolling over and acquiescing to everything isn't the answer, either. Learn to choose your battles; it is about compromising in divorce. As a wise divorce attorney I know is fond of saying, "A good divorce is a divorce when either party is completely happy about the settlement." Let's look at some questions to ask yourself before you go to battle:
Do you really know what happened? So many times, we jump to conclusions or make assumptions and then are ready to "have it out" before we know all the facts.
How much does it really matter? Think long range: will this issue impact you a year from now or even a week from now? Sometimes we take a stand when it isn't really necessary or appropriate. We just feel so enraged at the moment that you lose perspective!
Will it get you what you want? Sometimes, we take a stand on an issue with hopes that the victory will help us feel better about something else.
Do you just want to be heard? Do you really care about what you are fighting over or is it more about a need to for validation?
What are your options? Are there things you can do to work this through on your own?
Do you want a positive outcome? Make sure your stand isn't just about "getting back" or venting your anger.
Have you thought it through carefully? What considerations are there in taking a stand on this issue?
Will you have regrets? Years from now, how will this "stand" feel?
What are the probable consequences? Are there any risks? For example, if you wage a war against your ex due to his infidelity or cheating on his taxes, will there be consequences to you when he fights back? (Did you have an affair he can bring up? Did you sign those tax returns?) Are there certain aspects of your behavior that you would rather not reveal? Know your own vulnerable spots before you begin something you might regret. For more information on this, check out Dirty Divorce Tricks to Avoid.
Will your being assertive make a difference? For example, if your husband truly has no money, going after him for lots of alimony is not going to prove fruitful. Be realistic about your goal and the possibility of achieving it.
When you think of all the assertiveness skills you have learned, know that finding your voice will serve you well. You have learned to can speak up for yourself! However, be mindful that I could misuse these skills by becoming aggressive and that can create havoc and resentment in your life. As you go through this process, remember that you have the right to ask for what you need, but always be conscious of your real motives and expectations.
© Donna F. Ferber
Picking your battles wisely and compromising in divorce will go a long ways towards obtaining a fair divorce settlement that you can be satisfied with. The following articles can help you as you begin your journey: