How splitting the baby leads to unreasonable positions

Splitting the baby in divorceWhen a divorce takes place, many believe in the concept of splitting the baby.  In other words, if one party wants one result, and the other wants something different, the view is that the parties should split the baby.

By splitting the baby, the idea is that the parties should meet right down the middle.  For many who do not practice divorce or family law, the thought is a fairly common one.  In many courts, meeting in the middle is certainly encouraged.

In a lot of ways, the thought of splitting the baby or meeting in the middle makes sense.  It’s in the spirit of compromise.  Both parties are not getting exactly what they want, but both get a little of what they want.  That’s the thought at least.

Take a case where one party wants $1,000 a month in child support and the other party is willing to pay $500.  The view of many is that the parties should agree on $750.

The view is of many is that this is what get a case done.  It allows parties to move on with their lives.  It allows them to stop spending attorney fees and end the case.

What’s the potential problem with the viewpoint of splitting the baby in some cases?  One problem is that it can inadvertently lead to individuals staking out very unreasonable positions out of the gates.  The idea is by staking out an unreasonable position (which might not even be what they actually want), they can slowly move to a place that is truly what they want.

By staking out wholly unreasonable positions out of the gates, however, many parties end up litigating their case when they see what looks like a widely unreasonable demand from the other side.

Take the example above, but let’s say the one party now wants $2,000 a month in child support.  That can lead to the other party staking out a position that they will pay none in response.  This is what can cause a case to get litigious.

It is true, on the other hand, that when courts often want parties to meet in the middle, it usually does not make sense for a party to ask for exactly what they want in initial demands in litigation.  Otherwise, they will be likely be asked to move from that position to a place they may not be willing to go.  This, for example, is an inherent problem with litigated divorces.

Instead of litigating a case, and taking lofty positions where the hope is the baby will eventually be split down the middle, why not proceed with collaborative divorce?  In collaborative divorce, parties are able to engage in negotiations with one another.  Both parties have an attorney who is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals where settlement is sought by everybody involved.

The hope is that parties can engage in fruitful negotiations out of the gates.  The hope is that posturing and puffing, which is fairly common in litigation, can go by the wayside.  Versus splitting the baby right down the middle, parties can also work on creative solutions where satisfaction on the part of both parties might be much higher.

Splitting the baby, after all, can create a scenario where both parties are ultimately unhappy because neither got what they wanted after spending a lot of time in court.  This can lead to parties being back in court on modifications and contempt motions.  This is where collaborative practice can be a better option for many.

If you are interested in a collaborative divorce, you can call Stange Law Firm, PC at 1-855-805-0595.

Author: Kirk C. Stange, Esq.

Kirk Stange is a Founding Partner at Stange Law Firm, PC.

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