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How to Reduce the Nastiness of Your Divorce and Protect Your Kids

by Dinnebier & Demmerle on November 28, 2013

Fisher and Ury’s “Getting to YES” process can make child custody battles less mean and more likely to lead to “win-win” outcomes for everyone involved: for you, for your children, and for your spouse.

The unifying idea of Getting to YES is this: aim to formulate agreements that are fair and that are likely to last for a long time.

Normal bargaining involves taking extreme positions and then hashing out comprises in the middle. For instance, you might say “I want to see the kids 30 hours a week.” Your spouse might counter that she only wants you to see them for 10 hours a week. The “negotiation” would then be a haggling between these two “price points.”

All told, this is not a very constructive process, and it’s not likely to lead to “win-wins.”

The “Getting to YES” concept is quite different. In this version, you try to “invent options” and attempt to meet everyone’s needs. The process uses four main ideas:

1. Do not mix up the people involved with the problem in hand.

Your spouse is not “wicked” for wanting a certain outcome, and you’re not either. You both have needs and problems. Focus on the problems at hand, not on judging or blaming.

2. Identify the interests and fundamental needs of each party.

Focus less on positions staked out and strategies. Instead, identify the core needs, and use them to guide the discussion.

3. Develop many options.

Expand your thinking before trying to work towards an agreement.

4. Use objective criteria to help decide the matter.

This basic framework can be very useful. But if you’re going through a tough divorce, you can really benefit from speaking with a qualified child custody and divorce lawyer. Connect with the Dinnebier & Demmerle team today for sound, coherent strategic advice about your case.

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