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Owning the Divorce Solution - the Ikea Effect

Divorce brings "costs" - financial and emotional. These costs may not end after a Final judgment, notably if there was a contest. When making the decision to litigate or mediate, one should consider the costs of prolonged court proceedings for temporary orders, contempt orders, and a contested divorce.

Daniel Mochon, a Tulane University marketing professor was interviewed about a psychological phenomenon called the "Ikea Effect". Along with professors from Harvard Business School and Duke University, he demonstrated that people attach greater value to things (or agreements) that they build themselves as compared to similar items built by someone else. The sense of pride for the items you build is overwhelming and brings self-esteem.

In a series of experiments, they demonstrated that people attach greater value to things they built than if the very same product was built by someone else. And in new experiments published recently, they've discovered why it happens: Building your own stuff boosts your feelings of pride and competence, and also signals to others that you are competent.

This same effect works with divorce settlement agreements. Parties attach more pride in settlements they built in mediation. They respect and adhere to their settlements more often than that those imposed by Judges or made by the parties' attorneys. Mediation produces agreements not fueled by parties' anger, fears, sense of failure, need to place blame or need to satisfy an ego. Parties craft agreements based upon their future needs, after having the opportunity to communicate what they want, why they want it and how they felt about the reason for the divorce. Parties are less likely to breach the terms of an agreement he or she had a hand in crafting.

The mediation process may take more hours that putting a coffee table together; it does not come with pages of confusing diagrams and special tools. Experienced mediators, such as Steve Hirsch, lead two parties who are willing to make an honest financial disclosures through the process to develop options and allow the parties to reach a comprehensive agreement.

Although mediation brings many benefits, it does not always eliminate the need for parties to speak with a lawyer. Some divorces bring unusual/specialized circumstances where legal input is important providing the parties with a good understanding of the legal ramifications of the settlement.

Contact Steven Hirsch, who has been litigating divorces since 1978 and mediating divorces, modification in child support and parenting plans and family issues since 1995. Let him guide you to a far-reaching and fair agreement.

Source: Why You Love That Ikea Table, Even If It's Crooked. Shankar Vedantam, 1/6/2013 by

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