One of the most dreaded moments in divorce is that of negotiations. Often times, this is handled by a divorce lawyer or a mediator, but ultimately, the decisions come down to you. Most people get overwhelmed at the thought of negotiation, but the truth of the matter is that we are negotiating and making sales throughout the day, every day. Every day, we sell our views, our work, and our ideas to other people in the hopes that they approve or accept them and this concept applies to the process of divorce as well. In light of that, here are a few techniques that most salespeople employ on a daily basis, whether they know it or not in hopes of putting you in a better position to reach a far better divorce settlement.
Ingratiation is exactly what it sounds like; you are trying to get the other person to like you. The reason you want someone to like you is that it is harder to turn down a request from a close friend than it is someone whom you have never met. Especially in the divorce process, this can be the difference between you getting child custody or paying child support and alimony. Getting your former spouse to see past your troubles is the best thing you can do in your situation, regardless of whether that proceeds into the future or not.
The foot-in-the-door technique is simple and a timeless classic. The old cliché of the door-to-door salesman isn’t a far stretch because they are the ones who made this technique popular and earned it its name. Basically, you make a series of progressively larger requests after starting off with a more modest one. Generally, once you get someone to agree to something, there is something in the brain that happens that makes it exceptionally difficult to disagree if the request isn’t much further beyond the previous request. So, when trying to get spousal support, starting at a modest sum, and then adding expenses gradually can result in a higher amount than asking for the final amount outright. Often times, soon as someone agrees to something, the game is over, and it is precisely because of this mechanic.
From one door to another, the door-in-the-face technique is essentially when you present someone with an outlandish offer, with the assumption that the request will be turned down. From there, a smaller request is made, which is often accepted because people do not like to appear to be disagreeable. Sometimes this has to be a series of progressively smaller offers to get to the final one, as every denial is one more nail in the coffin, so to speak. So, in principle, if someone wanted primary custody of children, they could ask for primary custody, spousal support, child support, and half the property. From there, it is just a whittling down of the items of least importance, at which point it looks as though huge concessions have been made when their impact was minimal from the start.
Low-balling is the technique of getting someone to agree to something, and at the last moment, changing the terms of the agreement. For many, this is perhaps the weakest technique, but the operating principle behind it is that if someone has already agreed to a deal, it makes it much harder to turn that deal down, despite the fact that it is a different deal. For this very reason, this technique’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. For instance, if child support has been agreed to, adding additional expenses for the child to boost the amount can be seen as low-balling.
We provide this information not because we want you to be manipulative, but so that you can get a better idea of when someone is trying to manipulate you during the divorce process. In today’s world, and especially when filing for divorce, there is no shortage of people who are willing to do it.