Sunday, April 26, 2015

Possible signs you should talk to a divorce lawyer

The following list certainly does not cover all possibilities that your relationship/marriage is in trouble.

But these are some the most common signs that I see in my office:


1. Your spouse, who never cared about finances, suddenly wants to be involved and/or starts asking a lot of questions about the family's finances.

2. Your spouse's bills quit coming to the house - perhaps your spouse has changed his/her address to a post office box or another address.

3. Your spouse is unwilling to share financial information.

4. Your spouse changes passwords for online access to bank accounts and/or credit cards.

5. You notice that cash is being withdrawan from bank accounts. When asked your spouse is evasive or gets mad.

6. You find receipts that seem strange - restaurants, hotel rooms, stores that your spouse never goes it.

For example, a friend of mine found a monthly statement from a major department store that showed her husband had purchased a woman's suit in size 4 -- but she wore size 12 - busted!

Or, the woman that always wears underwear from Target suddenly starts shopping at Victoria Secret. Or, the man that always wore white underwear suddenly starts buying colored underwear.

7. You receive a financial statement in the mail from a bank or other financial institution that you have never heard of before.

8. Your spouse is unwilling to make long-term financial commitments - such as a trip scheduled 6 months to a year from now, re-financing the house at a lower interest rate, making a major purchase such as a new home, second home or a new vehicle.

Generally, your spouse begins behaving differently than they have in the past.  And, your spouse does not have a good excuse for this sudden change in behavior. Or, your spouse becomes "secretive" and if you ask questions a fight ensues or they claim that you are "controlling".


If your spouse suddenly begins behaving differently regarding the children, the spouse might have talked to an attorney and is trying to "look good" when you go before a judge.

1.  A spouse that suddenly becomes more involved in your child's school or homework, showing up for lunch or attending more school events than usual. Suddenly taking an interest in progress reports and attending parent-teacher conferences. Or even asks the name of the child's teachers and principal. If they never cared before, then why the sudden interest.  Your spouse starts communicating with the children's teachers when they never did before.

2.  Your spouse wants to take the children to the doctor or dentist. Or, even asks the name of their doctor and dentist. If the parent was never involved before, then why are they suddenly interested?

3. Your spouse begins commenting on your bad parenting skills. If they never cared before, why the sudden interest in parenting?

4. Your spouse suddenly begins getting the children ready for school, fixing their breakfast, preparing lunch for school, coming home earlier, offering to pick the children up from school, suddenly being more involved.

5.  And the reverse, a parent that used to be active suddenly "disappears" and does not offer an explanation on where they have been.  Suddenly you have to pick up all the work with the children.  That is a big signal that the spouse has a "friend".

6.  Your spouse suddenly attends the children's extra-curricular activities. Or even starts volunteering and/or talking to all the other parents. Or, even taking lots of photos of children & spouse "doing" things.

7.  Your spouse takes the child on week-end shopping or outings when they never used to do so.  Your spouse takes the child shopping and is keeping all receipts.

8. Your spouse takes the children to their family's events and you are not invited.

9. Your spouse begins putting the children to bed at night. Asks the children lots of questions - what is their favorite color? favorite toy? favorite book? favorite DVD? favorite subject in school?

10. Your spouse suddenly begins being affectionate and loving toward the children. Or, buying the children lots of "stuff" -- toys, clothes, cell phone, I-pad, etc.

Many times your spouse is trying to create a new image of being an involved and caring parent who can handle all aspects of the child-rearing without you.

Warning signs of a possible affair:

1. With the internet, many people innocently begin "talking" to someone and eventually begin having an "emotional" affair. Unfortunately, many times their "new friend" is playing a game and is not who they claim to be.  I have seen several marriages end and when the spouse tries to finally meet the friend -- all communicate ceases, it turns out the person is a total liar or even someone of the same sex that has just be "playing games".

2.  If your spouse suddenly adds a password to their cell phone, changes their password, gets upset if you attempt to look at their phone or gets a "burner" phone, you might be in trouble. If you see a change in your data usage on the phone or a huge increase in text messages, something might be up.

If your spouse suddenly won't let you see the cell phone bill, be suspicious.

If you see lots of "unknown" or "blocked" numbers, or calls from the same number and you don't know who it is, be suspicious.

2. Lack of physical intimacy. Excuses why they don't want to have sex. If this area of your life has changed, your spouse might be having their needs met elsewhere.

3. If your spouse suddenly starts looking better. If they start watching their weight or exercising or they start changing their hair and their "look" you might need to be suspicious.

4. Your spouse suddenly wants to get extensive dental work or plastic surgery or hair transplant.

5. Your spouse spending a lot more time on the computer or on their cell phone & they are very secretive about what they are doing.

6. Your spouse goes on a trip with "a friend" - usually a cruise or somewhere that's fun. And you cannot verify that the spouse is actually with the "friend". Lots of time "friends" will cover for the person.  Of course, with cell phone technology today, you can often pinpoint where they are actually located.

7. Your spouse begins traveling a lot for business and their cell phone does not work or they don't answer your calls.  Many cell phones do not work on cruises. If you unable to get a copy of their travel plans and they always used to tell you in the past, begin to worry.

8. Your spouse begins accusing you of having an affair, suddenly begins checking your cell phone, and saying that you are "controlling".

Divorce (or ending a relationship) is never easy.  However, you need to keep your eyes and ears open. Don't ignore all the warning signs. If you see any indications that your spouse has been having an affair or is doing something unusual financially, it is important that you speak to a family law attorney in your county about options available to you.

Sometimes paying for an hour of an attorney's time can be very enlightening.

Please ignore your friends and relatives unless they are a family law attorney in the county where you live.

Remember even thought there is a Texas Family Code each judge has certain preferences and Texas judges have a lot of latitude in their decision making. Appellate courts generally do not like to overturn trial judges unless it is an obvious and glaring misstatement of TX law or a judge's judicial discretion. Plus, appealing a trial judge is very expensive. Lastly, an appellate court might not rule for over a year on an appeal.

I am amazed at the really bad (and often damaging) advice from friends and family.  I'm sure they are trying to help but I withdrew from a case where the father (a non-family attorney not licensed in the State of Texas) "helped" his daughter even though I insisted that he stop. He had her write several of her husband's relatives telling everyone what a "bad" man he was & also having her admit to some bad parenting she'd done -- he also helped her eventually lose primary custody of her children. The daughter was intimidated by her father & did whatever he said -- she went through several attorneys and none of them could "fix" the mess the father had created.

Elderly divorces -- If the spouses are elderly and one spouse suddenly begins to act differently. Take the person to a doctor - could be diabetes, stroke, dementia, or several other medical problems.  I have had this come up at least 10 times in the past 25 years.  Every time I had the spouse tested by a doctor there was a medical reason for the person's change in behavior.  So if there has never been domestic violence and suddenly one spouse attacks the other spouse, have them evaluated by a doctor. If the spouse has been married for years and suddenly one spouse is claiming the other is having an affair or hiding things, seek out a medical opinion first. I personally have not seen a lot of 80 year old women suddenly having affairs -- I'm not saying it could not happen but it usually means that the husband has a medical issue.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

How to choose a family law mediator for your case

Anyone that completes the basic mediation training can call themselves a "certified" mediator because they received a piece of paper at the end of the 40 hour training.

Think about when you were a kid and learned to ride a bike. At first you were wobbly and unsure. But the more you rode the bike the better you got. Eventually you might have learned to do a few tricks and to ride the bike without even holding the handle bars. I bet if you don't ride a bike for 20 years and you decide to try again that you won't be very good and it will take some more time to improve your skills.

Mediation is a lot like riding a bike.

Do you want someone that just learned to mediate or someone that takes classes on a regular basis to improve their skills?

I find that there are very few family law attorneys in Texas that take yearly advanced mediation training. That said, one of the best mediators I know is not an attorney - he is a retired professional with more common sense that a bus full of lawyers.  But then I see him at all the mediation trainings that I go to throughout the year.

I would look for someone that belongs to mediation groups such as:

1. Texas Association of Mediators - they hold an annual 2 day conference each year on mediation.

2. Texas Mediator Credentialing Association - the ONLY credentialing group in Texas. In order to join you must fulfill a variety of requirements. They hold an annual one day conference each fall in Austin.

3. Association for Conflict Resolution - National & local chapters - Houston has a chapter. This group holds many advanced mediation trainings and events for mediators throughout the year. It only costs $35/year to belong. Most of their events are inexpensive.

4. Association of Attorney-Mediators - This group requires that an applicant submit 3 letters of recommendations as well as meet certain standards. It is a national group.

I belong to all of these groups plus some others.

For 2015 State Bar of Texas Continuing Legal Education hours I have over 110 as of 4/25/2015. The State Bar of Texas requires that I do only 15 hours per year -- as you can see I far exceed the minimum requirements.  My CLE is 50% family law and 50% mediation. I also teach part of the family law mediation training for the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center & Dr. Barbara Manousso's family law mediation training.

I am a member of the Texas Bar College because I take so many CLE hours each year.

My additional training has me constantly improving my skills. Several Harris County judges appoint me on a regular basis to handle their "difficult" family law cases because of my advanced training in domestic violence. I can handle domestic violence cases because I make special arrangements so that the parties never interact with each other. Both parties must be in a safe and secure environment.

So if your family is going through a difficult period, please select the mediator carefully.
Each mediator has slightly different styles.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mediators -- Organizations you need (must) join

Attention mediators -- these are mediation groups that you need to consider joining:

1. Association of Conflict Resolution - National organization

2. Association of Conflict Resolution - Houston Chapter - cost $35/year

3. Texas Mediator Credentialing Association - annual meeting each year around February in different cities around Texas for 2 days.  Fr 2015, the conference will be in Houston Texas.

4. Texas Mediator Credentialing Association - annual meeting each year in the fall usually in Austin, Texas. A one day seminar.

5. For attorneys only - Association of Attorney-Mediators

There are many more but if you join those you will meet a lot of interesting people interested in mediation and you will "exposed" to other groups.

A good mediator's job of acquiring new techniques (tools) never ends. The 40-hour basic mediation training is only the beginning of your mediation journey. A committed mediator takes classes throughout the year to continue to develop their skill of mediation.

As I tell all the attorneys that mediate with me, when YOU think an impasse should be declared is when I just start my job.

Mediation rocks!

Agreed Order of Referral for Mediation with Mediator Fran Brochstein

CAUSE NO. _____________________

IN THE MATTER OF THE                              §    IN THE DISTRICT COURT
MARRIAGE OF                                              §                     
                                                                        §    OF HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS
_______________________                          §   
and                                                                  §   
_______________________                          §    _______th JUDICIAL DISTRICT

            This case is appropriate for mediation in accordance with sections 6.602 and 153.0071 of the Texas Family Code. 

            FRAN BROCHSTEIN (Texas Bar Number is 03039900) is selected as the mediator in the above case, and all counsel and all pro se parties agree to contact the mediator to arrange the logistics of mediation. 

The mediator’s address is 8978 Kirby Drive, Houston, Texas 77054 and her phone number is 713-847-6000 and her fax number is 832-415-0139. Her email address is .

            This mediation is a mandatory settlement conference, conducted with the assistance of the mediator. A mediated settlement agreement can be made binding on the written agreement of the parties. Mediation is private, confidential and privileged, except as provided by applicable law. After mediation the Court will be advised by the mediator, the parties and counsel only that the case did or did not settle. The mediator shall not be a witness and the mediator’s records may not be subpoenaed or used as evidence. No subpoenas, citations, writs, or other process shall be served at or near the location of any mediation session on any person entering, leaving or attending any mediation session.

            The fee for the mediation is determined by the mediator and paid ____% by husband/father, and ____% by wife/mother, paid by the parties directly to the mediator in advance of the mediation by cash, cashier’s check, debit/credit card or attorney’s check.  No personal checks are accepted.

The mediator’s fee for 4 hours is $300 per party. If the mediation goes beyond 4 hours then the mediator charges each party an additional $75 per hour due at the time of the mediation. If more than one session is necessary, the parties will pay the all additional fees for the second session.

The mediator charges a $150 non-refundable scheduling fee (via credit/debit card, attorney check or money order delivered to her office) due before the mediation will be placed on her mediation calendar.  

Every participant is bound by the rules for family law mediation and each party agrees to timely complete and supply all information requested by the mediator 72 hours prior to the actual mediation.

            It is agreed that all parties, the Amicus Attorney (if any), and at least one attorney for each party represented by an attorney, shall be present during the entire mediation process. It is understood that no party may leave the mediation site without express consent of the mediator.

            All pro se Parties, attorneys and the Amicus Attorney (if any) are all to mediate this matter on ________________________________(or) before the trial date of  _____________________________.

            All parties, counsel and the Amicus Attorney (if any) agree to appear as directed by the mediator. Referral to mediation is not a substitute for trial.

            Signed on  ________________________________.

 Petitioner or Petitioner's Attorney

Respondent or Respondent's Attorney

_______________________________                      _______________________________

Petitioner/Petitioner’s Attorney                      Respondent/Respondent’s Attorney

Disability & Social Security Attorney in downtown Houston

If you need a disability attorney or social security attorney, I highly recommend

Attorney Jeff Skarda


I've known Jeff since 1989. He used to work at Lone Star Legal Aid and he used to lecture at many local legal seminars on the topic of social security and disability laws.  He is a very nice person.

Please tell Jeff that "FRAN" sent you!!

Family Law attorney for parents with autistic or other unusual medical issues & CPS cases

I've been referring people to attorney Bobbie Young, RN, JD for years for CPS cases.

I've just learned that she knows a lot of children with autism and children with other special needs.

Here is her info:

Bobbie Young
6161 Savoy, Suite 1019
Houston, TX 77036

713-780-7774 office

Please tell her that "FRAN" sent you!

For CPS attorneys, I blogged earlier on this site about several attorneys that I've seen in court "in action" on CPS cases.  They all appeared competent and qualified.  So search this blog for my list that contains their names & phone numbers.

I flat-rate uncontested family law cases in Harris County only

Look on the FREE website...

On that website are Supreme Court of Texas approved family law forms (and other important free forms for Texas residents.)

If you cannot figure it out, I will help you fill them out for $200/hour cash or debit/credit card (discounted from my usual $300/hour rate).

Note: Stay away from "out of state" companies on the internet that sell "Texas" forms -- I've seen some really bad forms and I cannot "fix" bad/defective forms.  Generally, I just start over from scratch since attempting to fix "garbage" tends to be messier than starting fresh.

If you want me to handle the entire process, I charge $2,500 plus filing fees ($300 approx.) unless you have retirement monies to divide or you own real estate. Then generally you add $500 for each retirement plan and each piece of real estate that is involved.

At this flat-rate, you are entitled to a maximum of 3 hours of my legal communications via email, fax, text and phone calls.

I do all sorts of uncontested (agreed) family law cases for Harris County only --
Child Support

Why so much?

Because I make sure that the forms are done the way the judges want them & I am available to you by phone if you need to discuss your case. flat-rate does not mean that you can call me daily for an update -- if you want daily attorney conversations then I charge $5,000 for 10 hours of my time via text, fax, phone & email.

I offer quick turn-around for people that don't have the time or energy to try to do the divorce process yourself.

Be advised that judges expect more of a licensed attorney than they do of a pro se  litigant (person representing themselves) in a courtroom.  I know all of the judges and understand what they want attorneys to do that practice in their courtroom.

So if you need someone that is readily available, licensed almost 25 years and knows the judges, then call me.

If you see other posts on this blog that list other prices, if they are more than 6 months old then that offer has expired  - I reserve the right to raise my fees at any time.

If your case is unusual then your prices might be higher.

Agreed Order of Referral for Mediation

To make agreeing to mediate easier, on my website ( is now a form for attorneys or parties to sign prior to scheduling mediation.


Please feel free to use it so that both parties can easily understand what they are agreeing to do.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Should I set up a sole proprietorship or incorporate?

“Which business structure should I adopt?”

Each option presents its own set of pros and cons. 
This overview is not intended as tax or legal advice and may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. 
Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding the most appropriate business structure for your organization.

Sole Proprietorship/Partnership

This structure is the simplest. But it creates no separation from its owner. Income from the business is simply added to the individual’s personal tax return.
Advantages: Easy to set up and simple to maintain.
Disadvantages: Owners are personally liable for the business’s financial obligations, exposing their personal assets (house, savings, etc.). 


A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, making it easier to raise money, issue stock and transfer ownership. Its life is perpetual and will survive the owner’s death.
Advantages: There may be tax advantages, including more allowable business expenses. It protects owners from personal liability for the company’s financial obligations.   
Disadvantages: More expensive to set up, the paperwork and formality are greater than for a sole proprietorship or LLC. Income may be taxed twice, once at the corporate level and when distributed to owners as dividend income.


After forming a corporation an owner may elect an “S-Corporation Status” by adopting a resolution to that effect and submitting the proper paperwork the IRS. You might want to hire a CPA to assist you so that everything is done properly. 
The S-corporation is taxed like a sole proprietorship, i.e., the company’s income will pass through to shareholders and be reported on their respective personal tax returns.
Advantages: S-corporations avoid the double taxation issue associated with C-corporations, while enjoying many of their tax advantages. Owners are shielded from personal liability for the company’s financial obligations. 
Disadvantages: S-corporations do not have all the tax-deductible expenses of a C-corporation. The cost of set up, the paperwork and formality are greater than for a sole proprietorship or LLC. S-corporations have certain restrictions, including having less than 100 shareholders, shareholders must be U.S. citizens and it cannot be owned by another business.

Limited Liability Company

An LLC is a hybrid between a corporation and a sole proprietorship, offering easy management and pass-through taxation and the liability protection of a corporation. 
Similar to a corporation, it is a separate legal entity, but there is no stock.
Advantages: LLCs provide the protections of a corporation, but are taxed similar to a sole proprietorship.
Disadvantages: Typically more expensive to form than a sole proprietorship, LLCs require more paperwork and formalized behavior.

Remember, the choice of business structure is not an irreversible decision. 
You may amend your business structure to accommodate your changing needs and circumstances.

    Preparing for a deposition

    During the deposition phase of discovery, lawyers usually have to take and watch depositions. 

    Unfortunately many lawyers spend a disproportionate amount of time preparing to take the other side’s deposition. 

    Though it makes sense to spend more time preparing for depositions that the attorney intends to take of opposing party and/or his witnesses, a failure to adequately prepare the client and/or any of the client's friends/family for their deposition can have catastrophic consequences for the client's case. 

    In fact, a proper and thorough prep may take hours depending on the case and the witness.

    It's a famous story that the attorney should always know how each person about to be deposed is going to answer each question. Attorneys don't like surprises because they can hurt the case. 

    The deposition will not win the case

    The single most important rule for a witness to remember is that he or she can’t win the case with their deposition. 

    The deposition isn’t given in front of a jury, and the opposing lawyer will only pick out the bits and pieces of the deposition transcript that are helpful to her case. 

    It’s vital for the witness to understand that (in general) they can only hurt your case in a deposition, not help it.  If a witness understands this fact, then usually he will be more circumspect with his answers.

    Review how the opposing lawyer might use the deposition in motions or at trial
    Remind the person about to be deposed that the opposing attorney may be trying to confuse or intimidate them.

    Remind the person being deposed that the opposing counsel will attempt to prove the opposing party's theory and/or be used to impeach the person at the trial.

    The witness needs to understand how he can potentially torpedo your case, his credibility, or both. 

    Most of the time witnesses don’t really understand the how important how they answer is -- For example, if a person answers in a "sarcastic" manner "Yes" when the answer is really "No". The court reporter merely records what the witness said. It is not included in the transcript, "witness said yes but really meant no" or "the witness answered in a sarcastic manner". 

    Make sure that they understand that, if the case goes to trial, their answers at trial will be compared to their deposition testimony with great scrutiny.  

    Inconsistencies can hurt credibility. 

    Verbose, rambling responses potentially can give the opposing counsel a great nugget in a motion brief. 

    Once your witness understands how his answers can be used against him, it should help control answers that make you want to bury your head in your hands.

    Don’t assume, speculate, or guess -- it's ok to say "I don't recall".
    It doesn’t help. 

    Lawyers know this but laypeople don’t, or they forget. 

    If you watch any news show during a major breaking news event then you’ll hear more conjecture than fact. 

    While this can fit into normal daily conversations, conjecture doesn’t help in a deposition. 

    The witness needs to understand why guessing at an answer is not helpful. 

    I just tell the witness that if they guess wrong then they lose credibility since they’re shown to be wrong.  

    Often the person being deposed rambles on and on. Answers need to be short. Not a lot of elaboration. 

    Words like "always" "never" or "100% of the time are not good to use.  For example, I always wear my seatbelt when driving means that the person has never ever driven one inch without wearing a seatbelt. If opposing counsel can show one instance that the person did not wear the seatbelt then the credibility of the witness is in jepardy.

    Take your time

    Often the witness goes too fast. 

    Encourage them to take a deep breath and relax before answering the question.

    If they don't understand the question, the witness needs to understand that they can say "I don't understand, can you re-phrase the question." Sometimes even the best attorneys ask questions that make no sense. 

    The main issue is that they blurt something out before you have had a chance to object or before they have had time to carefully consider their answer. 

    Encourage them to pause after each question before responding.

    A person can get tired during a deposition. Breaks are allowed. It might break the flow of the person asking the questions. 

    Ask questions that you expect opposing counsel to ask the witness. 

    Practice having the witness pause between the end of the question and the beginning of his answer. 

    Practice how you want the witness to review any documents.

    The witness needs to be prepared to answer hard questions and not get upset.

    Emotional outbursts tend to hurt the client's case.  

    Some depositions are done to merely "upset" the client.  They need to be prepared to hear questions that they don't want to answer.

    Show a sample deposition on YouTube
    It is very instructive for deponents who may not have seen a deposition. 

    Show them videos of good and bad witnesses. 

    You can make a playlist, show a snippet, and cover what the witness did right or wrong. 

    In 20 minutes, this interactive session can teach the witness a lot more and prepare them for what to expect realistically.

    Remember the privilege rules (but don’t let that prevent you from prepping the witness)

    If the witness is your client, then your preparation is covered by the attorney-client privilege. 

    People prepare for weddings and other important events in their lives, so taking the time to prepare for a deposition only makes sense. 

    Most people have never seen or been to a deposition. They are scared. So practicing for a very stressful event like a deposition makes a lot of sense. People appreciate practicing before going into a deposition.

    Prepare the client to read the deposition

    Depositions are very strange to read. The client (or witness) needs to understand that they need to actually read the deposition carefully for errors made by the court reporter.  Many times the client (or witness) does not spend the time and read the deposition.  

    Give the person being deposed a copy of a deposition or examples of badly answered deposition questions  to read prior to being deposed. Let them see some examples of how their deposition will look when it is typed up by the court report. It is usually an eye-opening experience.  

    Hoping mediation is a success? 

    Here’s what to avoid:

    Heading to mediation too soon: Early mediation fails because there is so much unknown.

    Choosing the wrong mediator: Mediators should have the right style and the right knowledge and experience to handle a case.

    Failing to prep the mediator: They need information and should have time to review the case well in advance. That means receiving the information at least 2 days ahead of time. Sending the info one hour before is not enough time.

    Using tactics like silly briefs or behaving in a rude manner: Do not rant, do not be aggressive, do not take a condescending tone etc. 

    Being too emotional and not focused.  If you have anger or fear issues, the mediator is not a therapist and is not there to offer counseling. Crying during the entire mediation is not helpful. 

    Not knowing the opposition: Do what you can to gain insight into the opposing counsel.
    I have often had to introduce the 2 attorneys to each other. I've actually settled several cases after the attorneys sat and talked. 

    The attorney not preparing the client: The attorney should offer realistic guidance to the client in advance, so he or she knows what to expect and whether or not their desires are “pie in the sky” or a true possibility. Mediators don't like attorneys that promise the clients unrealistic goals and using the mediator to be the "bad guy". 

    No having your goals written down before arriving at mediation.  Often people forget everything they want to cover at mediation. The mediator is not a mind reader & can only address the goals you talk about. Bringing up new issues in the last hour usually derails the mediation.

    Not bringing required information to the mediation.  It is not the role of the mediator to do your research for you. Often I have to declare a recess and set another mediation because the parties do not bring important information (like the value of the residence, how much is in retirement accounts or the value of the business) to the mediation. I am happy to make copies for the other side so that both sides have the information they need to make informed decisions.

    Hiding assets, debts and generally being untruthful.  The mediator is not there to determine who is telling the truth. In order for both sides to make informed knowledgeable decisions, information must be exchanged. 

    There are many ways a mediation can go off track, but solid preparation ensures there is a good base from the beginning. 

    When everyone is prepared, they come to the table with an attitude more suitable to negotiate and settle the matter.