June 16, 2014

“What’s Fair?” May Not Be The Best Question In Divorce

494763661I often hear from my divorce clients, “I just want what’s fair.”  Who can argue with this? However, when we are in conflict, it’s common to see our own ideas as “fair” and the other’s ideas as “unfair.”

In a quest to determine what is “fair,” prospective clients may visit several lawyers asking what is fair or to what am I entitled? (These terms are often used interchangeably). However, depending upon how many lawyers are asked, the answers will likely be different. If the same individuals ask friends or family about what might be fair, there will be even more differing beliefs about what is fair in the context of their divorce.

The problem with “fairness” is that is subjective – everybody has their unique perspective on what it means to be fair.  With such a vast range of views, the question of what may or may not be fair is probably not a productive inquiry.  Instead, it may be more useful to explore for yourself what will be important to you to get from your divorce as you look forward to the next chapter of your life.  Only you can know your own goals and only you can set your own objectives consistent with those goals.  While others can certainly provide you with some useful information and help you “reality check” your choices, only you can set your objectives in life.

Another helpful inquiry may be what is an acceptable outcome for my soon-to-be ex-spouse?  If your goal is to reach a divorce settlement then what may be mutually acceptable is a key question – not “what’s fair?”

Elizabeth I. WrobelABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Wrobel

Elizabeth Wrobel, JD is a partner with Wrobel & Smith, PLLP. She practices in the areas of collaborative family law and health insurance disputes. Although Elizabeth’s legal roots are in government practice, she now enjoys working directly with real people and their real-life challenges. Elizabeth’s passion for helping families is met in her collaborative law practice where she can use creative problem solving to assist families through the challenges of transition. Elizabeth understands that conflict can be expected, but how the professionals respond and guide a couple through divorce is critical in minimizing the harm.

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