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What is Interest-Based Negotiation in Collaborative Divorce?

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Interest-based negotiation is an approach to resolving conflicts or disputes that focuses on the underlying interests and needs of the parties involved, rather than their fixed positions or demands. This method was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their influential book “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In.” 

Key principles of interest-based negotiation include:

  • Separating People from the Problem: This principle emphasizes the importance of addressing the substantive issues in a negotiation separately from the personal relationships and emotions of the parties involved. It encourages a constructive and objective approach.
  • Focus on Interests, Not Positions: Instead of insisting on specific positions or demands, negotiators are encouraged to explore and understand the underlying interests and motivations of each party. By identifying common interests, negotiators can work towards mutually beneficial solutions. 

Example Positional Negotiation:

Husband: “I want the house.”

Wife: “But I want the house.”

However, in interest-based negotiation, we look at the reasons behind why each spouse wants the house.

  • Generate Options for Mutual Gain: In interest-based negotiation, the parties aim to create multiple options and alternatives that satisfy the interests of all parties involved. This approach seeks to expand the pie rather than dividing it, promoting win-win solutions.
  • Use Objective Criteria: When evaluating potential solutions, interest-based negotiators rely on objective and fair criteria that can guide decision-making. This helps to ensure that agreements are based on rational, justifiable standards rather than arbitrary or subjective judgments.
  • Insist on Mutual Agreement: The goal of interest-based negotiation is to reach mutually acceptable agreements that address the interests and needs of all parties involved. This fosters cooperation and helps to build stronger, longer-lasting relationships.

Interest-based negotiation contrasts with a more traditional approach known as distributive negotiation or positional bargaining, in which parties start with fixed positions and haggle over those positions. Interest-based negotiation, on the other hand, encourages a more collaborative and problem-solving approach that seeks to find creative solutions that meet the needs and interests of all parties.

By focusing on interests, generating options, and seeking mutual gain, interest-based negotiation can lead to more constructive and productive outcomes in a family law situation.

At Raza Family Law Solutions, we practice family law effectively guiding clients through prenuptial and post nuptial agreements, dissolution of marriage, modifications of prior judgments, and resolving child custody disputes. We also help families take a different approach to divorce with mediation and collaborative work.  Contact us for a consultation at (314) 314-5505.

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