Friday, September 5, 2014

Let's not fight over the things we agree on...

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It is amazing how reasonable people can get so twisted when in a legal battle. I cannot tell you how many times I have a client who is basically in agreement with the other side on several issues in the case. They tell me what they want the other side wants the same thing and everything is fair for all the parties. But as soon as the one party starts telling the arbiter (conference officer, hearing officer, master, or judge) the areas of agreement, the other party seems to get defensive or agitated.

I had a conference in a family matter this week. The parties were in complete agreement as what the outcome should be. It was just a matter of getting it into an order. In fact, the conference officer offered a possible change thinking it might be more convenient for the parties. They both supported each other to keep everything as they agreed. My client is a good client and reasonable when I talk to her on the phone or in my office. But through the entire conference, her main concern was that the other side would "dictate" the terms, which amused me because both parties wanted the same thing. I told her, "let's not fight over the things we agree on."

Too many times people seem to want to fight over things that are of no consequence. Mostly I think, it happens as a backlash from things that happened during the relationship. As an attorney, I believe it is part of my job to try to keep my clients focused on the areas the parties don't agree on and to help clients keep things in perspective when their emotions are starting to take control.

So if you feel that emotion welling up inside you, think about your ultimate goal. If you are getting what you want or need at that moment in your case, don't pick a fight. There is no reason to. Save your strength and energy to for the issues you don't agree upon. If you can do that, it should make things a little easier.

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