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Negotiating a Divorce with Attorney Rebecca Zung, Ep #163

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Divorces are different from every other negotiation humans can experience because of the emotion, the history, and the baggage that is inherently part of the process. Rebecca Zung is a divorce attorney that helps people prepare for this difficult and emotional negotiation process. In this episode of Negotiations Ninja, Rebbeca shares some practical down-to-earth advice for negotiating a divorce. Rebecca has had her own law practice for 21 years, is a best-selling author of two books, and hosts her own podcast: Negotiate Your Best Life Podcast.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:34] How to negotiate through a divorce
  • [2:02] Rebecca Zung’s background
  • [3:43] Negotiating a divorce begins with your mindset
  • [4:29] Rebecca’s mission of empowerment
  • [6:33] Negative things to avoid in divorce negotiations
  • [8:10] Don’t rely too heavily on your lawyer—here’s why
  • [11:41] How to negotiate with a narcissist
  • [15:30] Finding leverage: documentation + strategy
  • [18:41] Settle before court when at all possible
  • [21:01] Negotiating a prenuptial agreement
  • [25:02] How to connect with Rebecca online

Negotiating a divorce begins with your mindset

Rebecca points out that the right mindset and proper preparation should be a huge part of your negotiation strategy. She emphasizes that 80% of a negotiation happens before you even walk into the room. The proper mindset and intense preparation help you project confidence. Rebecca’s Dad used to say, “Whatever you say, say it with authority and people will believe you.”

If you’re dealing with a nasty divorce and the person on the other side is a narcissist, don’t lose hope. Rebecca notes that you can turn things around, you don’t always have to be defensive, and they don’t always get their way. Smear campaigns don’t always work out for the other side. You have to believe that there is hope. Narcissists are on a rampage to crush you. Their plan is to jerk you around and take you down. Don’t let them win. What are some key strategies?

Avoid these things when negotiating a divorce

Rebecca shares a few things you should avoid during divorce proceedings:

  • Giving away anything too early
  • Assuming that the other side will win
  • Giving away powerful leverage
  • Getting too emotional

Lastly, she emphasizes that you shouldn’t put things in writing that can and will be used against you. The bottom line is that you need a good divorce attorney who knows what they’re doing. But you also need to know what you’re doing—which is where Rebecca’s expertise comes into play.

Don’t rely TOO heavily on your lawyer

Rebecca emphasizes that while you want to hire a great lawyer, you shouldn’t overly rely on your lawyer. The bottom line is that they probably don’t have experience with narcissists. They probably think they know what a high-conflict divorce looks like, but they really don’t. The other problem is that it costs a lot. Every interaction equals a bill.

Most of what you need to create your strategy and build leverage is all in your hands. The lawyer can tell you how to apply the law to your situation. But you know what to do. How? In Rebecca’s course, she teaches you how to organize your emails, texts, and witnesses and put them together to give your lawyer leverage and strategy. You’re giving your lawyer the ammunition they need and allowing them to apply the law to it. It will save you so much time and money.

How do you negotiate with a narcissist? How do you find leverage? What is the best strategy for documentation? Keep listening to hear Rebecca’s thoughts.

Settle before court when at all possible

Rebeca believes that if you can build enough leverage, you can settle before the trial. If you can, it’s better to settle in mediation or outside of court. But you need a strong strategy and you need to have documentation ready in preparation for a trial.

Why is it preferable to settle in a mediation versus a trial? Because it’s not appealable. You can get everything you want in a trial—but the other side can appeal. They can even ask that the final judgment is held in limbo. So you can’t enjoy the benefits of the ruling that was in your favor. It can take a year and cost thousands of dollars to handle an appeal.

But if you settle outside of court, you sign a marital settlement agreement that is a legally binding contract. It is governed by contract law—so there is no appeal. If they want it set aside, they have to prove duress, coercion, incapacity, etc.

Rebecca shares some insight into negotiating prenup agreements for the spouse with money OR the spouse without. It’s an interesting twist on a conversation about negotiating a divorce. Don’t miss it!

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Rebecca Zung

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