Monday, 16 April 2012

Let's Make a Deal?

Many years ago, I attended a live-taping of the game show Let’s Make a Deal. Likely you are familiar with the premise of the show, but if not, the idea is simple: contestants have a chance to win big or get “Zonked”, but the challenge is to guess if the prize in box number 1 is better than the prize behind curtain 2.  The decision making process was fun for the audience, and exciting for the “Trader”.

Most families agree that the intrigue and suspense of Lets Make a Deal makes for great entertainment, it is not an ideal model for Divorce negotiation.

When spouses fail to provide full and complete financial disclosure to each other, they are essentially asking the other spouse to make an uninformed trade. Although most couples recognize that a fair negotiation can only take place with all “cards on the table”, some spouses jump to making their trades blindly.

As an example consider what happens when a spouse chooses to waive his or her rights to the other person’s pension (accrued during the relationship), in exchange for an RRSP rollover of $15,000, or some other arbitrarily mutually-agreed upon amount.

This is a fair trade?
Possibly, but only depending on many undisclosed factors. It is just as likely that someone just got “Zonked”.

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