In Divorce, Compromise is NOT a Dirty Word

Hi there,

While listening to the recent doom and gloom about the government shutdown, I was incredibly annoyed by the perception that everyone in elected office in Washington should have been forced to compromise by their own common sense. It also occurred to me that Washington is not unlike divorce court. Opposing sides, rigid positions, angry murmurs — it could be any morning in the hallways of any divorce court. Where the Constitution balances powers to eventually force compromise, the Probate and Family Court sets up mechanisms to encourage resolutions. And any resolution will require compromise.

The first Probate Court compromise enforcer (huh) is the Family Service office. Generally you would be involved with the Family Service office the first time your case comes into court with motions regarding temporary parenting or temporary support. The FSOs are, by and large, well trained, hardworking and very aware of how the judges in their particular court handle routine issues.

The next point of forced compromise is the pretrial conference. At this point in the process all of the discovery should be done, and if there is a Guardian ad Litem her report should be in. In other words, the … Keep reading

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 … Keep reading