Working in Research Triangle Park (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) a region renowned for its education level, I have the privilege of working with a lot of very smart people. Doctors, professors, business executives, entrepreneurs, nurses, techies, and domestic geniuses all bring healthy IQ’s to the collaborative divorce conference, mediation or negotiating table.
Certainly raw intelligence helps in a divorce. The ability to learn, process and analyze complex legal issues and numbers is immensely helpful to efficiently resolving a divorce.
But, in my experience, it pales in comparison to the ability to recognize, understand, process and deftly handle the emotional component of divorce, both in yourself and in your spouse.
Left brain = logical thinking
Right brain = emotional thinking
I often have conversations with clients about “catching more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Angry people are not very generous or considerate. So, if you can try not to anger your spouse in a divorce negotiation, then your outcome is almost always going to be better.
This short musing inspired by Richard Pryor makes the point nicely, I think.
When trying to influence someone, as in a divorce negotiation, respect and politesse go a long way.
One frequent topic of co-parenting discussions is how much autonomy each parent will have when making decisions about the children. How will decisions be made by the parents to benefit the children now that interaction and communication between parents is less frequent and maybe more difficult?
I like to talk to clients about “Autonomy Buckets”, a concept I learned from Cat Zavis, an attorney, mediator and expert communicator in Washington state.
Everybody has a bias.
That’s not bad or wrong. It just is. No one can be completely objective. (Don’t believe me? Read “Thinking, Fast and Slow”!)
The challenge, then, is to understand the bias so that you know how to more accurately interpret information from that person.
Nowhere is this more important than in choosing and communicating with your divorce attorney. Contrary to popular belief, divorce attorneys are people (at least that’s my working hypothesis). And, as such, they have biases. One of your jobs as a discriminating client is to figure out what that bias is, and then interpret the advice, information and counsel you get from your attorney accordingly.