mercenary, sometimes known as a soldier of fortune, is an individual who takes part in military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a member of any other official military. Mercenaries fight for money or other forms of payment rather than for political reasons or alignments with any particular group.

Beginning in the 20th century, mercenaries have increasingly come to be less entitled to protections by rules of war than soldiers of a government’s army.

When you hire a lawyer to go into court and fight for your side of a dispute, you are hiring a mercenary. This kind of mercenary “wins” whether your interests are met or not. Even if you ‘win’ your side of an argument (the battle) you can still lose your case (the war).

If the Geneva Conventions declare that mercenaries are not recognized as legitimate combatants and do not have to be granted the same legal protections as captured service personnel of a regular army, then why do divorcing couples continue to prefer the mercenary paradigm in divorce problem-solving?

The mercenary paradigm is dead, or at least on life support. Creating destruction, injury, and metaphysical ‘death’, may achieve momentary feelings of satisfaction. But the price the patron of the mercenary pays is always great. “Winning” often leads to enormous debt, a lifetime recovering from trauma, and irreparable damage to important relationships.

Do not do it. Instead:

  1. Separate the people from the problem.
  2. Focus on interests, not positions.
  3. Invent multiple options looking for mutual gains before deciding what to do.
  4. Insist that the result be based on some objective standard.[1]

John Zoller and Mary Biacsi are both reformed mercenaries. With nearly 60 years of combined experience, we have the wisdom, skills, and patience to help you through this challenging phase of your life. Contact us to learn more about non-adversarial interest-based problem-solving.

[1] Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Roger Fischer, William Ury, and Bruce Patton. 3rd ed. 2011