Is It A Good Deal FOR YOU

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.