Tools to Move the Action

Leverage factors are considerations made by each of the parties pertaining to disputed issues. Leverage factors can be both tactical and strategic, and in a nasty adversarial divorce, both come into play as ways of putting the other side on the defensive and extracting concessions.

Put simply, leverage factors are things one side controls that the other side wants. When the facts of a case point toward a particular legal outcome, that is called a legal leverage factor. Leverage factors come into play when the couple and their lawyers negotiate the marital property settlement.

When both sides have leverage factors, each can “horse trade,” swapping considerations like chips.

One veteran Pennsylvania divorce lawyer says that in a contested divorce, the strongest leverage factor, one to be answered from the onset of the action is, In whose interest is it to remain married longest? Answering this question can be a starting point at the onset of divorce negotiations because it creates leverage over the negotiations. If Rufus has Roxanne waiting in the wings, but Rhonda is prepared to remain married until Hades freezes solid, Rhonda has leverage over Rufus: he wants out; she’s prepared to make him wait. A person willing to wait has a bargaining tool that can be brought to bear in property negotiations, and Rhonda, coached by her lawyer, can use it to extract concessions from Rufus.

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