What’s All This Fuss About Interests?
In my Collaborative Divorce
practice, I frequently talk to clients about identifying their “interests” in the divorce. This is a difficult concept to understand, but is the key to reaching a resolution in a divorce that meets the needs of all family members.
“Interests” are in contrast to “positions” in the divorce. An interest is the motivation or value behind a particular position. An interest is frequently inspirational and may be far broader than a position. A position is a particular outcome. The difference between an interest and a position is frequently illustrated by the following story.
Two children were arguing over who would have the last orange in the kitchen. They each took the “position” that the orange should be theirs. Their argument included angry cries of “You had the last orange!” or “I was here first.” Unable to resolve the dispute without resorting to blows, they brought the issue to their mother. The obvious solution is for Mom to slice the orange in half and give each child one-half of the orange. Seems like a good outcome, doesn’t it? But at this suggestion the children were even unhappier. So, instead, she asked each child what he or she wanted to do with the orange. The first child replied, “I want to bake a cake. I need the zest of the orange to add to the batter.” The second child said, “I want to make orange juice.” He needed the juice and the pulp of the orange. Obviously, by understanding the underlying interests of each child, it was determined that both children could get what they wanted—the rind for a cake and the juice for orange juice.
In collaborative divorce, this is called a win-win outcome. Win-win outcomes are possible when interests are identified and the interests of all parties are met.
More Collaborative Law Posts