Negotiations are some of the most critical forms of communication in law.  In a family law case, one of the most common causes of divorce has been a break down in the ability to communicate.  A common misconception is that each party of the negotiation should concentrate on their own presentation to make sure all of their points are presented about their side.  Instead, both parties should practice active listening so better results can be obtained.

Active listening involves a process that includes repeating and affirming what the other person is saying.  Often, your spouse is focused on winning and will try to say anything to make his or her point.  Once your spouse sees that your primary goal in the communication is to make certain you know what he is saying and if he understands your communications, the conversation is changed to your favor. At this point, more progress can be made.

During critical negotiations, one partner will often try to put pressure on his spouse using techniques that emphasize their power.  Techniques include false claims of commitments, insults, belittling actions, bringing up the past, anything to simply make you give up.  Using active listening techniques continually turns the conversation back to the issue at hand and prevent either spouse from taking the lead.  

You want to show your spouse that he or she is not going to succeed in making you angry which can cause you to lose focus on the subject at hand.  Once you lose focus, it is quite difficult to recover in the short time usually involved in a negotiation. 

Instead of presenting why a client needs to stay in the house, or reasons your client feels entitled to a certain settlement, the negotiation is now a battle about feelings.  Clearly, community property and custody settlements are one key area where active listening will bring your clients increased rewards.

Practicing negotiation techniques such as active listening will make all of your communication processes more successful.  In important negotiations, it shows the other party that you are not intimidated and intend to prevail.  Very few of the persons who negotiate use these techniques; but they will help you build a successful working relationship with the other party.

If you are involved in a family law issue including divorce, child custody or a modification, Central Texas Family Law Attorney Tim Whitten can help.  Contact him today at (512) 478-1011 to schedule an appointment and develop a plan for active listening during your case.