Illustration by Mal Jones
Illustration by Mal Jones

How to Behave at the Negotiating Table or in the Courtroom

By Renee Sklarew


Q: Why engage a lawyer if you choose to mediate your case?

Do Don’t

Listen to each other and be civil.

Be open. Lawyers and mediators are creative and often have good ideas.

Hire a financial adviser before signing an agreement.

Keep your ego under control and trust the professionals to guide you.

Know the range of resolutions available to you.

Communicate what you want to your lawyer or mediator in advance.

Try to avoid the courtroom because otherwise, a judge makes decisions instead of you and your spouse.

Be unreasonable, intimidating or insulting.

Lose your credibility by lying or leaving out pertinent information.

Confront your spouse with the specifics of an affair or adultery.

Post photos on social media that show you behaving in an unflattering way (drinking or with a paramour).

Use your kids as pawns in negotiations.

Demand immediate resolutions. Unless you can prove spousal abuse, you can’t change the court’s timetable.

Oversell your case in court.

Attempt to represent yourself. It’s too emotional, and you may make irrevocable mistakes.


(December 2015)