Is Your Spouse Ready To Settle?

A few years ago I wrote a blog called “Time Kills Deals”.  The blog talked about how prolonged negotiations not only cost more money in legal fees but “time” itself can cause folks to get fixed in their own positions.

I still believe that the best outcomes from a divorce happen when the parties move quickly through the process.  However there are some folks who just need more time for the shock of the divorce to settle in and are just not ready to make these decisions.

This will obviously be very frustrating for the spouse who wants it done.

Unless there is tremendous wealth involved, divorce strains the finances, (same income two households), the ability to change/downsize your lifestyle to meet this challenge is not easy and usually the lower income spouse is struggling and savings are used to meet the gap. The longer the situation persists the more savings are used and, at the end, when you would like to have a nest egg available, it is gone so this delay is not only frustrating it can be costly.

A cynic might think that the spouse who is not making decisions is doing this as a negotiating ploy; your spouse states their position and then every time you try to settle the situation to make a compromise their demands just get bigger.  If you believe this is the situation and want to settle just give them what they want, if you can, and be done.

If their demands are just too large wait them out. The courts will be pressuring you to settle with constant case management conferences; but if the unbending spouse still will not give in you either have to try the case in court (think $25,000 to $50,000 in legal fees) or you can opt for binding arbitration. Choosing this option will give you breathing room as you will no longer be on the court’s docket and timing is completely within your control.

The bottom line is that if you have a spouse who is not ready; they’re not ready.

Any decision you reach will be skewed their way just so you can settle. Wait them out. Let them want to come back to the table before you continue to try to modify our position just to get things done. That would be called negotiating against yourself.  Clients have said “maybe if we go back to them with X they will settle”? It rarely works and all it does is give the other side an advantage.

One of my clients waited 4 years before he approached his wife for a settlement.  So if your spouse just wants to fight, let them fight against themselves and just wait it out until cooler heads prevail.

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