All too often when a case is close to settlement one side hesitates. This
is normal and common. How the re-analysis is made can make the difference
whether the settlement proposal works or fails. While the proposal can
be adjusted to take into consideration missed items, changes in value
and changes in needs. The proposal might fail not because of any of the
above but rather because one person thinks too much about what the other
person is getting.
Recently, I was negotiating the settlement of a
child support case. I represented the mother who had a prior divorce agreement that allocated
the tax dependent exemptions in an unequal manner in favor of the father.
One of the two remaining unemanicpated children was attending a near Ivy
League university and more free financial aid would be available if the
mother had the exemption for the child. Under the prior
divorce agreement, the father and mother were to equally pay for college. The mother identified
that they could probably jointly save $16,000 if she had the exemption.
This would save the father $8,000. Instead, the father was thinking what
does he lose by giving the mother the exemption. Clearly the exemption
to the father was not worth $8,000. So even if the mother saved some money
with the exemption, the amount the father would save would still be much
more than the value of the exemption on his return.
So rather than settle the case the father is re-thinking the proposal and
therefore most likely another trip back to the Family Court and more legal
fees. He forgets that the mother did not create this situation with the
college. They both benefit and so does their child. Sometimes you just
need to step back and look at the big picture and see what the proposal
does for you and not worry about the other person.