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We blog about helping Long Island families to resolve conflicts in the most productive ways possible.

Dec 11, 2016BY: Neil Cahn
IN: Conduct and Communications, Packages and Options

Asking “Why?” May Break Through Divorce Negotiation Rejections

Why? Business metaphorIn his TED Talk, What I learned from 100 days of rejection, author, blogger, and entrepreneur Jia Jiang, tells of his quest to overcome his fear of the rejection that began when he was as a six-year-old in Beijing, China. Jiang is the owner of Rejection Therapy, a website that provides inspiration, knowledge and products for people to overcome their fear of rejection, and the CEO of Wuju Learning, a company that teaches people and trains organizations to become fearless through rejection training.

Decades later, to overcome his fear, Jiang set out to desensitize himself to rejection by going out and looking for it. Every day, for 100 days, he went out trying getting to be rejected at something. Along the way, he went to the house of a complete stranger. With a plant in his hand, he knocked on the door and said, “Hey, can I plant this flower in your backyard?” The stranger immediately said “No.”

But before the stranger could leave Jiang asked, “Hey, can I know why?” The stranger said, “Well, I have this dog that would dig up anything I put in the backyard. I don’t want to waste your flower. If you want to do this, go across the street and talk to Connie. She loves flowers.” So he went across the street, knocked on Connie’s door, and half an hour later, his flowering plant was in Connie’s backyard. Simply by asking, “Why?” Jiang was able to turn a momentary rejection into a positive outcome.

What’s the lesson for divorcing couples?

In what is known as “position-based” negotiations and contested divorce litigation, the driving forces are blame and demand: “I want this, and I am entitled to it because of all the wrong you have done.” Walls are built (and, as the thinking of the moment goes, one spouse wants the other to pay for it).

Not so with Collaborative Divorce. Instead, from the outset the entire professional team strives to look behind supposed “positions,” and to bring out the couple’s true interests and goals. Why do they want what they want?

From the very first meeting, each spouse is helped to express his or her interests, as well as to hear what is important to the other spouse. When this is basis and tone of discussion, for negotiation in a private and safe environment, there is an opportunity to develop alternatives What may be behind one spouse’s concern may be a fear or assumption that can be addressed; but only after it’s brought to the surface. A parenting schedule may need to be adjusted in light of a changing work schedule. The timing of payments may need to be tweaked to coincide with business plans. Problems get solved.

The battlefield is not the place build the cooperation needed to enhance the opportunities for a divorcing couple to achieve their goals. The Collaborative Divorce focuses on that from day one.

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