How Are Contested Divorce Negotiations Different Than Other Legal Negotiations?
Contested divorces are different from other cases because of the emotion involved. You’re dealing with two people who, at least once, loved each other and often still do. That is hard for people to wrap their minds around because even though they’re going through a divorce, some part of them often still loves the other person.
Love is not a light switch that turns on and off. Just because your marriage didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that a part of you still doesn’t love your spouse. When you throw kids into the mix, now you have two people going through a divorce case who share children, and that’s unlike most other areas of law.
Suppose someone has a personal injury case that’s in negotiation. Rarely do the motorists who hit each other have any connection other than that their cars touched each other. In commercial contract negotiations, very few cases involve emotion because there is no connection between corporations or businesses.
In criminal law, there’s no emotion involved in relation to the two parties. One is the district attorney’s office, and the other is the alleged criminal – there are no ties between the two. There might be emotions between an alleged criminal and a victim, but the victim is only a witness on behalf of the district attorney’s office.
So, as you can see, the emotion involved in divorce and family matters stands distinct from almost every other area of law.
Does Every Contested Divorce Case Go Through A Negotiation Phase?
Every contested divorce should go through a negotiation phase – though there are exceptions to this rule. Primarily, these exceptions are when a client comes in and says, “I know for a fact that there’s no possible way my spouse is going to agree to what I’m asking for.”
At this point, the divorce would be filed and your attorney would discuss your position with the other side. If they say something like, “Yeah, your client’s right. There’s no conceivable way my client’s going to agree to anything your client is proposing,” then there’s no need to have negotiations. At the end of the day, the parties need a Judge to rule one way or the other.
In this case, the only issue you have as an attorney is to go in and get the case set down for a trial as soon as possible. Then, the attorneys meet with the Judge and let them know where the parties are at in terms of pre-trial disclosure – and that there isn’t any middle ground on settlement issues.
Can You Negotiate Contested Custody Issues?
It’s common for custody issues to get heated – but what happens when both sides are so far opposed to each other that there is no overlap?
One common example of this is when one parent says, “I want sole custody and I’m never agreeing to joint custody. My spouse is crazy, so there’s no way anyone can twist my arm here.” Then, the other parent says, “I want the same exact thing. I want sole custody and there’s no way I will agree to anything other than that.”
In this situation, the Judge will let the parties know that they may make a ruling which will not please everyone, so it’s likely in the parents’ best interests to consider some level of negotiation. The other thing is the Judge and the attorneys will mention to the parties that taking a case to trial is expensive for most people. Unless you’re independently wealthy and have one or two hundred thousand dollars burning a hole in your wallet, it’s advisable to consider negotiating these issues.
But, in some cases, the clients come in, and one see right from the beginning that there’s no middle ground that’s possible between these two parties. In this case, the only thing you can do is march down the road to trial.
For more information on Negotiations in A Contested Divorce In NY, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (347) 797-1188 | (914) 362-3080 today.