Today I represented some clients in a very tough negotiation. It was a family money dispute, the most difficult type of negotiation. With business clients, it's just about the money, and so very often it is easy to structure something both sides can live with. But with family, it's about emotions --about how your mom must think and feel about you when she demands interest on that loan; about how your dad must feel about you if he refuses to repay that money he borrowed; about what grandpa felt about each of you if he left one of you more money than the other in his will.... emotions run high.
The differences seem small. You think, they're only off by $5000 and 2% interest, can't we just split the difference? but no, no they can't, because giving that 2% interest means mom doesn't love you, and giving that $5000 means your son has forgotten everything you ever did for him in his whole life. With business clients, you'd be done if you got within $5,000 just by reminding them of the hourly fee you are charging to sit there. With family, it's just... harder somehow.
The Judge mediating today's settlement negotiation came into the room after speaking with the other side. He said the other side had essentially agreed to accept the terms we had just proposed (after 4 prior rounds of offers and counteroffers), except that they wanted one additional term.
My client deliberated and finally said, "OK, but you tell him that he has to kiss me now since he just f---d me!"
Never heard anyone say that to a Judge before....