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My ex has no incentive to negotiate!

Updated: Sep 28, 2023













Does your ex resist wanting to negotiate on parenting or property matters?


Is their current status quo exactly what they were wanting, so are resistant to change it?


You may be trying to negotiate parenting time knowing full well your ex has no motivation or incentive to negotiate any changes as they have the children the majority of the time, which is exactly what they wanted. For them to commence negotiations with you to give you any time or more time with the children results in a loss of time with the children for them. So why would they engage in negotiations to lose time with the children?


Your frantic efforts to negotiate are met with refusal to talk about shared parenting and runs the risk of communication escalating into conflict as you desperately attempt to see your children. This can be a high-risk situation and may result in a violence order against you if your communication is deemed emotionally abusive, harassment or coercive control.


Your communication needs to be in writing, businesslike and void of emotion. Take steps to initiate mediation early to avoid risk of conflict which may impact the suitability assessment for mediation to go ahead.


You may have the situation where you want to instigate property negotiations but your ex is in no hurry to negotiate as they are still living in the family home and therefore It is not in their best interests to speed up the process to sell the house and split the proceeds. Let’s face it, both parties will be grappling with whether they will be able to secure a rental property in the same area or have the borrowing capacity to purchase a new home. There is no incentive to move out or complete financial settlement! So where does this leave you? You may be paying rent as well as paying the mortgage on the family home being financially strained in keeping two properties funded.


Once again, go straight to property mediation to start the process of negotiation.

So how could this situation have been avoided?


If you are still living under the same roof and it is safe to stay living there you can finalise your negotiations and reach agreement prior to physical separation. You can start to live like flat mates and prepare for mediation on parenting and property whilst maintaining the status quo on living arrangements which avoids financial strain. This is not to say that it is an ideal situation as there is a reason you have decided to separate as you no longer want to be together! The benefit is that it is far more likely you will have the opportunity to reach agreement in mediation as you both are wanting to physically separate so you have the incentive to cooperate and propose options and solutions for reaching shared parenting and property agreements. It is important to ensure that communication is respectful and businesslike to avoid escalating conflict which impacts the children.


If the living arrangements become too unbearable there is the option of nesting whereby the children stay in the family home and each parent swaps out to stay with family members or friends whilst mediation negotiations are taking place. Once agreements are reached you can then formalise them into orders and plan the physical separation, creating two loving homes for the children.


The key to creating incentive to negotiate is having both parties wanting to change the status quo of the living arrangements……… if you don’t and one party has what they want, they are less likely to be willing to negotiate in a timely manner.


There are varying mediation options here that can help you start to change the status quo!


Author – Cheryl Duffy, Divorce Coach, NMAS Mediator Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner & Parenting Coordinator

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