Break the log jam by pushing it to the side

A settlement negotiation is often like putting a puzzle together.  You have all of these pieces that have to eventually fit together and when the puzzle is solved, the case is over.  When there are many pieces left to put together, one of them can bog down the entire case.  As a result, nothing gets accomplished and the puzzle is not even close to completion.  In other words, there is a log jam.

The funny thing about log jams is that they are often not the most important issue to the case, at least to a rationale observer.  Instead, they are often one of the most emotional issues in the case and thus, you have a fairly unimportant issue bogging down the case. Of course, there are times when the most major issue is holding up the case.

Regardless of why the log jam exists, it has to be cleared or the case will drag on.  Some puzzle pieces are linked to each other.  In other words, you’ll only give up one piece in exchange for another.  So, in order to break the log jam you first need to figure out what pieces are related to the piece that is causing the jam.  If you cannot separate these pieces, they are also part of the log jam.

Once you have figured out the real problem spots, see what is left on the table.  Push the log jam to the side and work out those issues.  If you can start to agree on the balance of the issues you will both see that the two of you can come to an agreement without going through World War 3.  Hopefully, this will create some momentum so that when the only issues left are the log jam issues, you will re-examine your original position on these tough issues.

While it may not work every time, I have seen time and time again how those tough issues that threatened to derail the whole case became complete non-issues once the parties have pushed it aside for a while only to return to it after having worked through the other issues in the case.  

There are any number of reasons for why this occurs, but one explanation is that the more two people fight about an issue, the more they dig in their heals.  Instead of fighting over an asset in the divorce case, they are actually just fighting each other.  Conceding their position in anyway is a sign that the other party beat them down into submission because they are weak which neither side wants, so the fight continues. 

Pushing the log jam to the side stops the fight and shows both parties that they can work together to come to an agreement.  Now that emotions and nerves are calm, they can re-examine their positions from a rationale posture.

Posted on January 16, 2010, in Articles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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