Every lawyer loves settling a case that shouldn’t go to trial. There are cases where you know the people just hate each other so much, but the facts for a trial really aren’t there. The judge would be furious to hear you arguing over DVDs, Pinterest Projects, dishes, towels, and even your stocked zombie apocalypse shed. Truth be told, this is most cases. So we fight, we pull our hair out, and we are the intermediary to your issues. We fight hard for your zombie apocalypse shed because that’s what you want us to do. We negotiate nonstop. We try to find a solution to keep you from going to court and angering the judge over something you find life or death and he or she finds trivial. We do so to inevitably save you heartache and money. However, it’s not an easy job. We want you to know how to make it easier so here are our 5 no-no’s to helping your lawyer negotiate a fair settlement:
- Do not be evasive with your Attorney. If your attorney asks you a question, do not ask a question back to determine why they are asking you that question. Trying to find out the reasoning behind a question is a sign that your answer depends on that reasoning. If you’re adjusting your answer based off of the reason behind the question, there’s a good chance you’re not telling the whole truth. That destroys the trust between you and your attorney. If we cannot trust you, we cannot trust our own judgment on whether or not you’re getting a fair settlement.
- Do not lie to your Attorney. If you lie to us, we are working with misinformation. We are unable to factor in the information only you know into our negotiations, and thus we don’t know if you’re getting a sweet deal, or the shaft. If you are the only one with knowledge because you’ve purposefully kept it from your attorneys, you go from being in a team, to being the lone ranger. We can’t fight for you, and with you, if you are working on information only you know. You are not Chuck Norris. You are not a one man (one woman) army. You hire an attorney because you need us. Let us in, and utilize what we know and our ability to negotiate with ALL OF THE FACTS.
- Do not disregard your Attorney’s advice. If you ask your attorney for advice on an issue, and we do research for you, or we even know the answer at the moment, and we tell you that you are wrong in your assumptions or your own research, listen to our advice. This advice is not only for you. We are telling you what will happen, and we are advising you on what to do so that you will not have to risk a different outcome later. Attorneys do not like to be wrong. We wouldn’t tell you something to get you to settle, only to find out the opposite later. That isn’t good for our careers. Again, trust us!
- Do not use the word “mine.” Wedding vows are funny. They have this magic where it turns “mine” to “ours.” Divorce is the just as magical. It appears it turns all of the “ours” to “mine” or, if it’s a debt, to “yours.” Couples going through a divorce quickly revert back to the two year old versions of themselves referring to everything as “mine” even if they had never touched it before. With some people it is very hard to get the issue of marital property/joint property through their head. We get it. It’s hard to see your favorite candlesticks or DVDs go to your spouse, but is it worth destroying the entire settlement negotiation? Sometimes it’s hard to divvy up once you’ve been through years of “what’s mine is yours.” Think it through before you get caught up in the “mine” shaft.
- DO NOT USE THE PHRASE “It’s the principle of the matter.” Once you go here, there’s no coming back. Your attorney can’t get you back to the table because you’ve gone emotional. There is logic behind settlement negotiations. People can negotiate with logic. You can’t negotiate with emotion. This phrase is every divorce attorney’s worst nightmare. Once you realize you’ve hit this territory, and you realize that you’re going after their dog, or their collector’s Barbies, it’s time to regroup and see why you’re lashing out and wanting to hurt them. Are you not ready for this to be over? Are you trying to get back at them? There comes a time when the principle of the matter can no longer trump the sweet taste of freedom from pain and drama. Turn away from that principle path, and run toward your freedom.