Around the table blog

Around the Table

Levitt Family Law & Mediation’s Blog

Generosity and Divorce: Opening the Door to Goodwill

by | Jul 26, 2022 | Divorce

Divorce is about “winning,” right?


Anyone going through divorce experiences anger, sadness, grief, hurt and anxiety about the future. Understandably, the focus tends to be on one’s own individual interests and goals. During a divorce, it is appropriate to think about what you want for yourself, or your children. What do you need to be able to co-parent, to feel financially secure, to ensure that you have appropriate housing for you and your family, and to feel that you have been heard, and how will you get what you think you are entitled to or deserve?

However, it is important to ask yourself to think about what the other party wants and why. How does this benefit you? There are many cases that result in positive outcomes for both parties when the parties focus not just on their own individual needs and interests but are genuinely curious to learn about the other party’s needs and interests as well. You might be surprised about what the other person wants, and if you can be generous in meeting that want, you might also be surprised how quickly settlement acceptable to both parties can be reached.

It may be a simple apology; or taking care of the kids one night during the week when the other party goes to therapy; or keeping an inheritance, but agreeing to contribute more toward or pay for children’s college education; or paying support at a slightly higher level than the law says you should or accepting less than the law says you should because you know the other party needs that to survive.

Being generous and charitable opens the door to the other person being willing to do so as well – more open discussion, more creative solutions, more options for settlement. Parties are able to see the benefits of compromise, and agreement is more likely to be reached. Generosity is not weakness, and it does not mean going against your own interests or giving up what is important to you. Rather, it is letting go of what might not be as important to you as it is to the other party, and meeting some of their “want.” Generosity buys what you cannot pay for – goodwill. Goodwill can be a critical component of the healing process after divorce, and in those cases where there are children and the need for a continuing relationship, goodwill can mean the difference between peace or conflict post-divorce.

So, when getting divorced, give the concept of giving and generosity some thought. Does it have, or should it have, a place in your settlement negotiations? Hopefully, the answer is yes on both sides, and you will reach a mutually satisfactory agreement as a result.

Contact us to find out more about how we can help you find a path forward.