In collaborative practice, one goal of both parties ought to be a fair settlement. A fair settlement means that both parties generally believe that the settlement is fair and equitable for both parties.
This is counter to traditional litigation where the goal is often to get the best deal possible for themselves. This is a mindset that is based on win-lose solutions versus win-win solutions.
In collaborative divorce and family law, win-win is what both parties should strive for in their case. Win-win solutions help prevent future disputes and disagreements. Win-win keep parties out of court.
Win-win solutions also parties to co-parent if they have kids. It also leads to less bitterness and buyer’s remorse long-run. But seeking win-win solutions requires some re-wiring and re-calibration for many parties who are not used to negotiating with this approach.
To get to win-win and fair settlements, it’s vital that both parties be candid in the collaborative process about their goals. It might mean that one party has goals that are fundamentally more to them than the other party.
By ranking goals like this, it may be possible in some cases for both parties to achieve their most important priorities in the settlement because it may be that both parties have different priorities. It is vital in any settlement that the collaborative lawyers and professionals help parties get to this place where they are both trying to set up the settlement as being beneficial for both versus one part trying to get the other to capitulate to terms that they do not like or want.
Ultimately, when both parties believe the settlement was fair, this is good in the short and the long-run. A settlement that is viewed as mutually fair leads to less biterness and disputes. While a fair settlement (versus a winner and a loser) might seem counter to how most people are used to thinking about divorce, it is a goal worth trying to achieve in the collaborative process where possible.