In the context of divorce or parenting time negotiations, the concepts of "interests" and "positions" play a crucial role in understanding and resolving conflicts. These concepts help you distinguish between the deeper needs and desires of the people involved (interests) and the specific demands or solutions they propose (positions).
1. Positions in Divorce or Parenting Time These are the specific demands or solutions that a person puts forward. For example, in a divorce negotiation, one person might have the position that they want to keep the family home. In a parenting time negotiation, a parent's position might be that they want the children every weekend.
2. Interests in Divorce or Parenting Time Interests are the underlying needs, concerns, fears, or values that motivate the positions. Interests often include emotional, psychological, and practical needs. For instance, the interest behind wanting to keep the family home might be the desire for stability, especially for the children, or a sense of security and attachment to the home. In the case of parenting time, the interest behind wanting the children every weekend might be the desire to maintain a strong relationship with the children or to ensure that they have ample time for bonding.
Understanding these distinctions is essential:
- Positions Can Lead to Conflict When parties in a divorce or parenting negotiation stick rigidly to their positions, it often leads to conflict, as these positions might be mutually exclusive or appear to leave no room for compromise.
- Interests Allow for Creative Solutions. By understanding and acknowledging each other's interests, parties can often find creative solutions that meet the underlying needs of both. This approach opens up the possibility of finding a middle ground or alternative solutions that might not have been considered if the focus were solely on positions.
For example, if the interest is maintaining a strong relationship with the children, solutions might involve different scheduling, such as splitting weekends or incorporating mid-week visits, rather than sticking to the position of having every weekend.
In divorce and parenting time negotiations, focusing on interests rather than positions is crucial for several reasons:
- It leads to more amicable solutions that are more likely to be respected and followed by both parties.
- It helps preserve a cooperative relationship, which is especially important when children are involved.
- It acknowledges the emotional complexity of divorce and parenting negotiations, allowing for solutions that are sensitive to the emotional needs of all parties, including the children.
Mediators and family law professionals often use interest-based negotiation techniques to guide parties in these situations towards mutually beneficial and sustainable agreements.