Michael Hirsch of the National Journal wrote a sobering article in which he agreed with an assessment made by Rep. Barney Frank. Mr. Frank rues the fact that he could not persuade President Obama to put off the Health Care fight for a period after the economic crisis had been addressed. In choosing to introduce Health Care reform early in his presidency, President Obama took his eye off the need to address the economic and jobs as the first matter of national business. In fact, each time an Obama advisor discusses how the economic crisis they inherited was worse than they thought, they are reinforcing this question. If the crisis was so bad, why was so little time and effort dedicated to finding a solution? Mr. Hirsch attributes this dropping of the ball to a case of misplaced priorities. If you can't do everything at one time, you need to prioritize needs and the resources you can call upon to meet the challenges.
In divorce mediation, this sense of prioritization is a critical factor. You may have many needs and demands you wish to make. But if you won't get everything you want (who does?), you need to decide what is essential and what is discretionary. Prioritize your needs, be prepared to be flexible on that which is not essential, and you have the makings of a successful negotiation. You don't want to drop the ball by making everything sound as if it is of critical importance. If you wish to negotiate with effectiveness, you need to come to the table prepared and armed with your listing of priorities. Mediate don't litigate.
Martin Rosenfeld is a Fair Lawn family mediator and attorney. He can be contacted at: Rosenfeld@Juno.Com