Divorce and the Fiscal Cliff

Hi there,

If you follow me on Twitter you know I am a political junkie.  Politics affects our lives in many aspects.  Good political functioning requires compromise.  Reading both sides’ bitter complaints about the fiscal cliff agreement, it is clear that the deal represents a compromise.  Everyone is unhappy to some degree.  They are glad it is over, but still they are unhappy.

Healthy divorce requires compromise too.  A divorce trial is like the fiscal cliff; it keeps getting closer and closer and no matter what the lawyers tell you, the outcome is uncertain.  Good attorneys will try to get their clients to compromise.  The attorneys know that seldom does either side get everything they want, and they try to reach a result that everyone can live with.  Like politicians, attorneys suffer from the results of their own posturing.  If clients don’t understand that compromise is inevitable, either by agreement or judicial fiat, then they can’t make the adjustments necessary to settle.

I am not sure how you teach this other than through the harsh realities of the litigation process itself.  Divorce is an inherently unhappy proceeding and compromise almost always feels like losing AGAIN.  But it isn’t.  Done well, compromise can produce a resolution that leaves the parties in control of the decisions made about going forward.  A good probate judge once told me that if both parties are unhappy with the deal then it probably is fair and the right deal.

So compromise folks!  And Happy New Year!