What Is Fair?

A lot of times clients will ask me if I think their settlement proposals are fair. I tell them that fair is not the question. Fair afterall is one of those words that means different things to different people. What may seem fair to me or you might seem unfair to your spouse.

There are only two doors out of a divorce. Either (1) the two of you agree or (2) the judge decides. That doesn’t keep people from looking for door number three however. The one called (3) what I think is fair (what I want).

While you certainly should know what you want, you also have to know your BATNA. BATNA is “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” And in divorce law, your BATNA is what the judge might do.

So ultimately the choice is not between what you want and what you can get your spouse to agree to. The choice is between what you might get in court and what you can get your spouse to agree to.