Interest Based Negotiation

A large difference between traditional litigation negotiation and negotiation in the collaborative process is the positional bargaining is used in traditional litigation while interest based negotiation in used in the collaborative process.  It is important to have an attorney skilled in interested based negotiation when participating in the collaborative process.  The focus is on reaching a settlement that meets both the needs of your client and of his/her spouse.   There can be many settlements that meet this purpose and having competent counsel can insure that the settlement reached is the best for you.


            The key components of interest based negotiation are as follows:


Interests: Whatever position each side is taking, the key to the negotiation is to reach an outcome that meets everyone’s interests.  It is important that the attorney takes the time to truly understand both his/her client’s interests and the other party’s interests.


Options: A good outcome should be the best possible way to meet all parties’ interests.  The more options that the parties can come up with, the better chance of reaching the best option.


Alternatives: A good outcome should seem better than all other alternatives on the table.  Before reaching an agreement, the sides should know what the alternative would be if no agreement is reached.  In a collaborative case, that option is the uncertainty of litigation.


Legitimacy: External objective standards are helpful in allowing both sides to feel that the outcome is legitimate.


Communication: Effective communication will lead to both an efficient and beneficial outcomes.  This involves both listening to the other side and properly educating them about your side’s interests.


Relationship: At the end of the negotiations, the relationship between the parties should be improved rather than further damaged. 


Commitment: The quality of an outcome is measured by the quality of the promises that are made.  Both sides need to make sure that the agreement is one that both sides can actually carry out.

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About Daniel Margolin

Daniel Margolin is a founding partner of Stephens & Margolin LLP and a Portland, Oregon native. His practice focuses on all aspects of family law litigation. Dan applies his litigation expertise to provide additional expertise when assisting clients with Family Law Appeals and Collaborative Divorce matters. To find out more or contact Daniel Margolin, visit Stephens & Margolin LLP
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