Tag Archives: negotiation

Deadlines matter.

In life, there are deadlines.


1. the latest time or date by which something should be completed.
“the deadline for submissions is February 5th”
2. a line drawn around a prison beyond which prisoners were liable to be shot.
Deadlines induce stress, anxiety and even panic. Deadlines, or rather, meeting deadlines is critical to be successful in life. Projects, bills and responses have deadlines. Sometimes there may be false deadlines, sometimes deadlines may have dire consequences. Knowing the difference is key.
In law school I took Counseling & Negotiation. It was an upper level class taught by an Adjunct Professor, X.M. “Mike” Frascogna. About half way through the semester he made an offer, any student would be guaranteed a “C” if they attended the remaining classes. They did not have to take the final. I recall a student took that offer. I did not consider it.
The final required us to negotiate with the professor for our final grade. There was no set exam. Their were wild stories of students doing wild stunts to get an A. However, one of the lessons that stuck with me was either not allowing the other side to know your deadline or setting a deadline that you know would put pressure on the other side. He told the story of an international negotiation where one person let the other side know he was flying out in 4 days. They wined and dined him, showed him the sights and otherwise occupied his time for 3 1/2 days. On the last day, the traveler agreed to a worse deal because it had to be finalized that day.
Deadlines matter.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law Attorney in Mississippi and negotiated his way to an A in Counseling & Negotiation.

Don’t Overplay Your Hand.

It’s an expression from the gambling world, but holds true in family law too.


Overplaying your hand is when you think you have the advantage, but do to whatever reason you don’t. Sometimes it’s because an important piece of information was not disclosed, or perhaps overlooked, or because the opponent has the ability to make a situation appear to be something that it is not.

For instance, it’s common in custody disputes for one side to want full custody and the other to want joint. The side that wants joint describes each side’s parenting as basically 50/50 and, of course, there is no need for child support. The side that wants full custody describes the parenting as more 80/20 and seeks support. The full custody parent can also back up their claims. They know the teachers, doctors, children’s schedules, and have done the primary care-giving. The side that wanted joint, well their job did not allow them to really do joint, but the 20% of the time they were around, they did 50% of the parenting. That would have been nice to know on the front end.

The bottom line is to be sure to tell your lawyer everything.  If you do, you can be protected as much as possible. If you don’t, they may call your bluff and you could be up the river.

Matthew Thompson is a Divorce attorney in Mississippi and warns you that  sometimes calling the person who is overplaying their hand can backfire on you. So be careful either way.


Why Settling your case is BEST!

I want a bulldog!”  

“I want to take him to the cleaners!

“It’s the principle!”

Oftentimes I am asked the difference between settling a case and litigating a case to a conclusion.  In my experience, more often than not, settling your case leads to a better result.  Here’s why.

  • It eliminates the uncertainty of a Court ruling. You know what you get.
  • It usually results in a quicker end.
  • It can save money.
  • Settlement gives your more control and “say” in the final outcome.
  • Settling your case allows the matter to end on a “positive” note, perhaps more amicable than otherwise.

Cases can be settled through a variety of ways, through negotiation or mediation, either through the parties, through the attorneys or a combination of both.

These are just some of the reasons why settling your case may be best.  However, there are also those cases that cannot be settled.  Typically, hotly contested custody cases cannot be settled because both parties genuinely believe that they have to fight for what they think is best.  And sometimes the other party is just a big jerk that makes everything a fight!

Know this;

  • People don’t get taken to the cleaners (unless they agree).
  • Suing on principle is unsatisfying and expensive.
  • Bulldog lawyers seldom make a difference in the outcome, they only alter how you get there.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and can attest that big jerks can try to fight, but usually get what they deserve…