Recently, I did a blog entitled Putting a Stop to Threatening, Bad Faith Negotiations. In that same case, what preceded the threats, were bad faith diversions or refusals to provide even the most basic of information necessary to settle the case - in this case, "how much are you going to earn this year?"
Alternating with the vagueness and misinformation about income ("confusing" gross with net to make the income seem smaller") was an outright refusal to address the issues we were discussing. I get it - the guy doesn't want to pay alimony. Who does? But alimony was a real issue in the case and the real issue that will make or break any settlement. Every time we tried to focus on the alimony issue, the adversary came back without a response on alimony, but raising an irrelevant (in the grand scheme of things), red herring side issue. This happened time after time.
After a few times, we ended the discussions for the day. I am not saying that we wont address the issues raised, if they are truly an issue. But just like the threats, these smoke screens were raised as a tactic to divert from the main issue, perhaps to wear down my client or otherwise confuse the issues.
At the end of the day, you have to keep returning the negotiations to the central issues. Otherwise, you are simply wasting time and allowing the bad faith negotiator use tactics to gain an advantageous settlement. Stay strong and stay the course. Don't allow the negotiations to be hijacked by nonsense.
Eric Solotoff is the editor of the New Jersey Family Legal Blog and the Co-Chair of the Family Law Practice Group of Fox Rothschild LLP. Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Lawyer and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, Eric practices in Fox Rothschild's Roseland, New Jersey office though he practices throughout New Jersey. You can reach Eric at (973)994-7501, or firstname.lastname@example.org.