Divorce: About Finding Balance

Divorce is hard.  It is heartbreaking, and stressful, and it taxes us to our limits in making the best decisions possible in the midst of what often is an emotional war-zone.

Finding yourself in that chaos, it can be almost impossible for a party to focus themselves on the task at hand – indeed, it can seem that a divorce may be a flurry of daunting and competing tasks, an emotional and logistical nightmare.

Giving in to this chaos, in my opinion, is the number one enemy of parties struggling to find their way through a divorce.  Too often clients fight for years, spending tens of thousands of dollars on arguments which are more personal than pragmatic – to their loss, and, candidly, to the lawyers’ gain.

Fundamentally, clients need to focus on one goal: Resolution.

That goal, in turn, is based upon one fundamental balancing equation: How much to I give vs. How much to I fight?

It’s really that simple.

Navigating that balance is the essence of making your way through a successful resolution in your divorce.

While it does take two to resolve matters by agreement, still, a client needs to do their best to be rather pragmatic in approaching how they instruct their lawyer – or if they are self-represented, how they direct their own file.  Emotion, anger and fear are the enemies of a client’s best interests – and often lead to prolonged litigation, and gross disappointment.

How best to find the “sweet spot” for resolution?

My advice is to hand the reigns to their lawyer.  Ask for a BATNA and WATNA opinion.

BATNA is the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement and WATNA is the Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. Essentially, it’s the range between the best possible outcome and the worst possible outcome if you go to court.  If you have a proposal on the table which is in the gap between the BATNA and the WATNA, you need to seriously consider resolution in that zone – if you don’t, the likelihood its you’re going to get their anyway, but it’s going to be months or years down the road, and many thousands of dollars in legal fees and/or legal costs ordered against you if you do worse that the offer on the table.

If your lawyer’s opinion doesn’t match your vision – get a second BATNA and WATNA opinion.

If two qualified, experienced lawyers tell you you’re going to lose, YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE.  Accept it – do not kid yourself that the Judge just needs to hear your story.  The chances are very good you are deluding yourself as to how strong your case is.

Best to not find that out the hard way.

Contrary to popular opinion, including many divorce lawyers, divorce is not about “winning” and “losing”.  It’s about resolution.  It’s about moving forward to the next, happier chapter of your life.

It’s about minimizing loss and damage to your family and finances, not increasing it.