How An Orange Helps Explain The Power Of Collaborative Divorce

How can an orange possibly help us better understand collaborative divorce? The truth is that divorce can be a messy, hard to understand process. But by looking at the situation through the lens of a piece of fruit, we’re able to better understand how collaboration can truly make divorce a less painful process.

When you’re ready to look for professional, collaborative team members, contact us.

The Orange

Four oranges, with one split in half on top of the remaining three.
Oranges by jarmoluk

You may have heard about position-based and interest-based negotiations. These two different paths can be demonstrated by splitting an orange.

An orange is placed on a table in between two people. Each wants the orange. As the decision maker, how do you split it with only the knowledge of their positions? Most people will choose to cut it in half and give each person a share.

However, if we look at their true interests, we’ll see cutting the orange in half may not be the most effective choice. Perhaps one person wants to eat the orange, while another wants to use the peel in a recipe. Or one wants the juice, while another wants to grind the peel into orange peel powder.

Finding the underlying issue ensures no portion of the orange is wasted. This applies to collaborative divorce, as your finances, children, property and relationships are infinitely more complex and important than a simple orange.

Types Of Negotiations


Many people approach any discussion or argument from a positional negotiation. This means you have one position, the other person has another, and there’s no insight into why you want what you want. Any question or demand you can answer “yes” or “no” to is probably a position:

  • I’ll pay you $8,000 for this car, but not a penny more;
  • I want free market healthcare; or,
  • give me your wallet.


Rather than negotiating over a single position, we talk over the underlying interests with interest-based negotiation. This means while both parties know the position, more time is spent discussing why the position is important to them. Statements typically drive more discussion, such as:

  • I need a car quickly as mine was recently totalled. Would you be willing to sell this one for $8,000 cash?;
  • premiums are rising, and we need more choices in healthcare to increase competition and drive down prices; or
  • How old are you? Let me see your driver’s license.

When negotiating in a collaborative divorce process, think of the orange and remember to talk about your interests instead of locking into a position. The quicker you get to the interests the closer you’ll be to a healthy agreement. Not only is emotion and conflict minimized, you also get more of what you need and want.


Choose your team of professional advisors wisely – let the Collaborative Divorce Professionals help.

By Cohlaborative Divorce Professionals

This post was written by .

Published .

Posted in: Collaborative Divorce

Comments are closed.