Transfer Deadline Day and the Courts.

Having listened to the flurry of football’s transfer deadline day moves I began thinking about the reasons why people leave things so late to make decisions, be it with moving clubs, or door of the court settlements.

As I type this with a couple of hours until the door closes on the transfer window at 11pm, Fernando Torres is on his way to Chelsea and Andy Carroll is on his way to Liverpool, both having allegedly handed in transfer requests to their former clubs in order to seal their moves.

Why are matters left so late? So far as I am aware January’s position in the calendar has not changed and the transfer window has been known to all since the beginning of the season. I can understand clubs who have perhaps under performed during the first half of the season and need strengthening but why not complete the purchase at the beginning of January and get an extra three or four games out of the individual rather than wait until just minutes before the deadline. Are the players that unhappy at their clubs and have been for months? Or is the deal too good to turn down?

In terms of Andy Carroll he has been injured for the month of January so surely his club would have wanted the transfer done more quickly to try to enable the manager time to get a replacement but no.

I liken this scenario to that of settlements at the Court door. Couples who litigate often have months considering the position but it is only when they approach the day of the hearing do they settle either the day before or  just before they see the Judge at Court. Is this the same as a player who is unhappy for months and sees the window closing?

People like deadlines it focuses the minds. Most of us will put off something if we can and in life there are often things that may seem more important. However divorce settlements may be all that couples will be thinking about from the time of the separation  until conclusion.

The current divorce process involves  three hearings to resolve financial matters in usual cases. The First Appointment which is generally used by the parties and courts to ensure that all the necessary evidence is in place for the Judge to progress to the next hearing, the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (FDR). Then the third hearing, a final hearing, where a Judge decides.

So assuming all of the information is to hand and in order, the FDR is an opportunity for the parties to put forward their positions to the Judge which will include offers to settle. Couples will have hopefully tried to explore settlement options significantly in advance of the proceedings starting but this may not always be possible if disclosure of information is incomplete.

Couple’s are on average at least three to six months from the start of proceedings at the FDR stage and have I am sure been constantly thinking about the outcome. Most of the clients will have had advice about the options and potential outcomes and even if a generous proposal has been made it is not until the reality of a hearing do they make a decision or reach an agreement.

I appreciate that couples will have perhaps a lot more emotional attachment to the proceedings than say a Premier League footballer and his transfer but both can involve life changing decisions and so why are they often made under pressure of a deadline.

The litigation route will involve a couple, their lawyers and perhaps barristers. An individual will have family, friends, colleagues and perhaps divorce coaches all offering advice upon what they consider is best for the individual, not just in financial terms but possibly emotionally. They will require their estranged partner to either put forward a settlement that can be agreed or have their own proposal accepted. Failure to do so and the Judge steps in with a judgment that I anticipate neither will be a 100% happy with.

So where does that leave us with our footballers who want to leave. They will have an agent telling people how unhappy they are, they require two clubs to negotiate upon a fee and how that is to be paid and a deadline of perhaps 24 hours to make it all work. Unfortunately there is no Judge to rule on matters when they cannot agree so there has to be plenty of negotiation and communication in order for the player and both clubs to ultimately get what they want. If they don’t, are there many Premier League players around who are so unhappy that they need to leave immediately but can’t due to the transfer window?  No doubt Mr Torres and Mr Carroll may have many more thousand supporters of their clubs unhappy with their decision and no doubt offering advice on what they should do as well.

Deadlines can be a good thing to concentrate the mind, but surely good negotiation and communication are the key to resolving most issues hence why I would recommend Collaborative law, and sitting around a table, as opposed to litigation as a way of resolving matters upon separation. I am sure that the respective football clubs have got around a table to sort these moves out so quickly.

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