2. Identify goals, needs and interests. You will be encouraged to focus on the future, not the past, and to work on the important issues. At the very beginning, you will be required to come up with a list of items that are important to you. These should be discussed with your attorney and then will be discussed at the first or second joint meeting.
3. Pay attention and respect your spouse’s needs. This is sometimes difficult because spouses often disagree about what’s important. Still, listening to your spouse’s positions and considering them can lead to better, more amicable solutions for both of you.
4. Prepare before joint meetings. Review and discuss the agenda items and your ideas with your attorney before each joint meeting. Get advice from your attorney. Gather any needed information before the meeting and share it with the professionals and attorneys. Think about what you want to accomplish and consider how your spouse may respond. Talk it all over with your attorney prior to the joint meeting.
5. Stay within the lines. Please don’t try to save time and money by negotiating with your spouse one-on-one outside the joint meetings. That almost always causes problems. Remember, if you were able to sit down and have rational discussions, you probably wouldn’t be getting a divorce.
- Warn your attorney if you expect problems with any topics or information. There may be some hot buttons for you or your spouse that need special treatment.
- Ask for a short time out if a surprise or problem comes up in a meeting. We don’t like surprises and don’t want either party feeling uncomfortable.
- Listen before talking or acting. That’s basic!