“… you say bark, I say bite. You say shark, I say ‘hey man, Jaws was never my scene, and I don’t like Star Wars.'” (Lyrics from Bicycle Race, by Queen)
In a deteriorating marriage, isolated disagreements become power struggles. Then, power struggles become patterns. In the misery that precedes a separation, patterns become trenches, and conversation becomes open warfare. In order for negotiations to progress in legal matters, you must get out of the trenches. Not just any zombie with a J.D. can help you do that. Only skilled legal counsel can maintain client respect while elevating negotiations to the point where the case not only progresses, but resolves.
I hear you groaning now. Come on, out with it… Here, I will say out loud what you are thinking, and I know because braver ones than you have already tried it. You: “But, Attorney Nelson, she is not going to concede a single point. I am just supposed to roll over and play dead and let her walk away with sole custody and every single asset in the marriage.” No, that would make you a martyr, and it would be bad for my professional reputation if I allowed my clients to offer themselves up on a platter.
Here is what I suggest: Go somewhere quiet. Maybe take a day trip or a mini vacation. Write a list of all your assets and debts. Take copies of your work schedule and hers as well as the school calendar. Make a list of the other points of contention likely to surface in mediation. Now, rank each asset, debt, or item from most important to least important. Next, switch hats and pretend to be the opposing party. Do the same thing. Find something you rank as fairly low in priority, but something higher up on her priority list. What do we have? A peace offering! And so it begins…
We know how to think outside the box. That is what you pay us to do. She says black. You say white. We say, “hey guys, what about this solution written over here in forest green.”