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The Salesmanship of Divorce
The Salesmanship of Divorce

No one entering into a divorce hopes for the process to be long, drawn out, and expensive.  But often times divorce is driven to such a point when the two parties cannot reach an agreement and the process of going to court is started.

J. Richard Kulerski recently wrote for the Huffington Post his thoughts on how best to keep your divorce from digging deep into your wallet.  The secret, he claims, is no secret really: Keep your case out of court.  But, how does he suggest going about this?

Traditional methods of speaking to an ex, or soon to be ex-spouse, are often times confrontational at best.  This aggressive onset to communication provides a toxic playing field for any negations.  It’s no wonder why most turn sour.  The advent of collaborative approaches to divorce, such as mediation, have brought to light a new way of getting the job done, and it has to do with salesmanship.

Anyone who has ever transacted business knows you must be nice to a customer if you wish to make a sale.  Being nasty to a customer is bad for business.  When you want an out-of-court settlement, your spouse is the customer–the one you must sell to. It follows, therefore, that you should act nicely toward your spouse.

If you don’t want an expensive court battle, what other means do you have of motivating them to agree to a settlement they don’t want to agree to? This is where salesmanship comes in. It’s all we have left.

The following are some professional negotiation insights into what it takes to get through to your spouse during your divorce settlement conversations.


• Understand that your spouse will always see things differently than you do. It is as impossible to change their mind as it is for them to change yours, so don’t annoy them by trying. Divorces get settled by working around the other side’s thinking, not by challenging it.

• The best way to work around your partner’s thinking is by listening to their concerns and showing respect for what they say. Your partner will not agree to a settlement until they know that they have been heard, and that you have validated their right to see things as they do.

• Do not try to convince your soon-to-be ex of the righteousness of your position. Instead, listen to why they think their position is the correct one.

• Listening shows that you are persuadable and you cannot be persuasive until you first convince them that you can be persuaded.

• Listen more than you speak.

• Repeat their words back to them. This signifies that you are making room in your mind to accommodate their viewpoint.

• Don’t argue with them. No one has ever won an argument by arguing. Arguing only makes them angry and angry people do not want to compromise.

• Recognize that someone has to be the first to act civilly or a sensible settlement is never going to happen. Don’t rely on your partner to be this person.

• Always wait until it is your turn to speak. Never, ever interrupt them.

• Wait until things are calm before you express your disagreement, and then proceed with the utmost diplomacy.

• Be patient. It takes time to settle a divorce case. It is not meant to happen in one sitting.

• Do not react negatively when your spouse rejects your proposal. There are usually a few NO’S before you can reasonably expect a YES.

• Do not say no too quickly. Wait three seconds before responding because this shows that you have given appropriate consideration to their proposal.


Keep in the back of your mind that divorce settlement conversations are not about who is right or wrong, they are about your money and not throwing it away.


Orlando lawyer Jeffrey Feulner and the Men’s Divorce Law Firm believes in communication between the Firm and our clients and encourages our clients to communicate productively with those in their case as possible.