In divorce cases, victory and defeat are relative. There are many Pyrrhic victories in family law. For example, if you get that support reduction you were looking for but you spent every last dime you had on attorneys’ fees to get it, then that is a hollow victory. Spending $5000.00 to gain a $500.00 reduction in support means that you are recouping that investment over 10 months. It also means that the spouse you just defeated in court will be looking for ways to drag you right back in causing you to spend even more.
Sometimes, but not always, offering more or paying more is the way to go. Recently, I had a case where I was convinced my client could get at least a 20% reduction in the spousal support he was paying. When we went to court on the initial support request, we obtained a great result. Then, his wife addressed the Judge. She told him that she has to tell her college-age kids that they would probably lose their house. My client walked out of the courtroom in tears.
Nonetheless, he hated paying the support and was looking forward to trial. He has two adult children who love both of their parents. The negotiated result was that he offered to pay more. Crazy you say? Not really. He was not thrilled with the idea. Neither was she. She wanted more. She was nuts. Both were reluctantly satisfied and now his children will not have to worry about their mother.
Had we tried the case and won, he probably would have put his ex-wife on the streets. Imagine the burden his kids would have felt. His wife would have been dragging him back to court for years and the only winners here would have been the attorneys.
The negotiated deal was a good result for the whole family – a good holistic result. He paid more than he wants She receives less than she wants. But the key here is that no one is going back to Court. The value of closure cannot be overstated!