1. Be flexible. Your first reaction to any proposal the other party makes may be an automatic No. Instead, think about the proposal. Would accepting it have any advantages for you or your kids? Are there any positive components of it that you would like to recognize for inclusion in a counter proposal? You may still say no to the proposal as offered, but use it to build toward a proposal that wlll be acceptable to both sides.
2. Repeat and clarify. If the other party makes an unacceptable proposal, repeat it back, maybe with a clarification of why it sounds unacceptable to you. “So, you are proposing that I take the kids every other Saturday and a week in the summer. That makes about 32 days a year. Do you think seeing their mom (or dad) for only 32 days out of every 365 days is best for our kids?” If you can ask the question in an inquiring one, not a sarcastic, insulted, insulting tone, you make it easier for the other party to consider the content of the question.
3. Be willing to say no. If the other party thinks that you will ultimately have to cave in and agree to whatever he or she is proposing, they may never consider any proposal that you would find acceptable. If that is the case, you do have the option of letting a judge decide the matter. When the other party recognizes this, he or she may make or accept a reasonable proposal instead of leaving the decision to an unknown, unpredictable judge.
4. Be willing to say yes. The other party may actually have a good idea.
5. Be reasonable and be willing to explain your reasons. “I never wanted to have a dog. You got those two puppies for the kids. Now I have to keep them. I have to pay for their food, their training, their visits to the vet, and pet care when we go out of town. It makes sense for you to pay a share of those expenses. I will make sure that the kids know that you are helping out with this.”
These are just a few more basic tips. Your comments and stories are welcome. You can find .
This article is for informational purposes only. The author is a Professional Family Mediator certified by the Virginia Supreme Court. She is not an attorney. Additional information is available at http://fairfaxmediator.com.