The first settlement proposal in a collaborative divorce or family law matter can be critically important. Depending on that first offer, the other party to the case can decide that negotiating may bear fruit.

In other words, there are some settlement offers that can be so ambitious, that the other party might decide just to walk from the table. They might decide that the offer is so unreasonable, that they might feel hurt or insulted by it. Or, they might just feel like a reasonable settlement will be impossible.

On the other hand, it is true at the same time that if the first settlement proposal is not ambitious enough, a party might have to move even further to get the case settled. So, it may be important for parties to leave the wiggle room from their initial position. Otherwise, they may be asked to go someplace to get a case settled in which they are not willing.

This is where that nirvana is important for that first settlement proposal. That first settlement offer can set the tone. If can ensure that the settlement negotiations in the collaborative process can be meaningful. But it can cause one party to walk from the collaborative process and litigate their divorce.

This is where parties who are wanting to engage in the collaborative process need to be careful. First settlement proposals need to be carefully considered. They should not be put out there if they are not. There is a fine line between leaving wiggle room and putting forth an initial settlement proposal that causes the other party to not engage in the collaborative process.

In the end, a party should provide all the information to their lawyer as soon as possible. It also may mean ranking priorities from most to least important for their lawyer. And, then, trying to rank what a party thinks is most and least important for the other party.