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Communication is the key to every successful sharing arrangement. There's no way around it: Sharing is a process that involves other people. To share well, participants must effectively convey information, reach agreements and decisions, discuss their needs and wants, and talk out disagreements and conflicts.

The converse is also true: Communication problems are the primary cause of breakdowns in sharing agreements. There might be a failure to communicate expectations effectively at the outset, a misunderstanding over some part of an agreement, conflicting memories of past events, or confusion about terms that mean different things to different people. The ways that communication can go awry are limitless in their variety. Happily, most of them can be prevented or resolved through careful planning and conscientious interaction with each other. This chapter provides the tools you need to communicate effectively, reach decisions as a group, and, if necessary, tackle conflicts.

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