Game Theory & the Transformation of Family Law

Game Theory & the Transformation of Family Law

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Kenneth Waldron, PhD, and Allan Koritzinsky, JD

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Game Theory and the Transformation of Family Law

Save 75% when you add the author's companion book:

Winning Strategies in Divorce: The Art and Science of Using Game Theory Principles and Skills in Negotiation and Mediation. 

Revolutionize your understanding of family law. Learn how utilizing the mathematical principles of game theory can help you, as a legal professional, to create enhanced outcomes for your clients, their families, processes between attorneys, and your business. The whole family, and especially the children, will benefit.

In this groundbreaking book, principles derived from game theory are applied to family law, an arena often plagued by bitterness and what appears to be irrational behavior. The principles of game theory—the scientific study of how and why people make decisions—lends itself to the practice of family law in our traditional divorce system, one that often leads to rational but self-defeating, sometimes destructive decision-making.

The authors propose a new approach lawyers and mediators can use to:

  • improve success rates
  • optimize outcomes for both parties
  • decrease conflict
  • divide property
  • determine custody arrangements
  • establish constructive coparenting relationships

Book Details

Publisher: High Conflict Institute Press
Publication date:  October 2015
Binding:  softcover
Pages:  340
ISBN (print):  978-1-936268-94-8
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-936268-95-5


Kenneth H. Waldron, Ph.D., currently works in Monona Mediation and Counseling in Wisconsin. He was trained as a child psychologist, specializing in child and adolescent psychology and adoptions. He was trained in divorce mediation in the late 1970’s and began working with families in the context of the family law arena. By 1985 he had a practice devoted solely to family law work. He performed custody evaluations for several jurisdictions in California, developed a mediation practice and also developed one of the early parent education programs for parents. He also developed a treatment model for coparenting counseling, which over time has expanded to include specialty treatment programs for unique problems, such as parent-child estrangement. He helped establish the parent education program in Madison Wisconsin and helped design and establish a group coparenting counseling program in Illinois. He has served as expert witness in numerous states and in Canada, both as family evaluator and as expert on social science research related to divorce. He has been trained in collaborative Divorce as Child Specialist and Coach.

Dr. Waldron has presented on topics related to families with divorced/separated parents in jurisdictions around the United States to lawyers, judges, mediators and mental health practitioners. He regularly has presented to students at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He has published in both local and nationwide journals on various topics related to children of divorce and has published books on parent education and the effects of divorce on children.

Dr. Waldron is a founding member of the Wisconsin Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and is currently on the board of the chapter. He has also served on the board of the Wisconsin Inter-professional Committee on Divorce. His current practice is devoted to serving as court appointed expert, performing custody evaluations and testifying to social science research, divorce mediation, coparenting counseling, and specialty counseling for problems associated with divorce.

Allan R. Koritzinsky is a retired partner with Foley & Lardner LLP where he was a member of the General Commercial Litigation, Tax & Individual Planning and Estates & Trusts Practice Teams. He was also the chair of the law firm’s Family Law Team. As a family law attorney representing individual clients for over 47 years, Mr. Koritzinsky focused on divorce law and alternative dispute resolution. He also worked with colleagues in estate and business planning and real estate transactions. He also had experience in tax, valuation and fiduciary litigation matters. A native of Wisconsin, Mr. Koritzinsky earned his undergraduate degree in history and his law degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is admitted to practice law before the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, United States Courts of Military Review and Appeals in Washington, D.C., the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Koritzinsky was active in the following professional organizations: Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) (1977- 2009); Diplomat in the American College of Family Trial Lawyers (1977- 2009); Member of the national AAML Board of Governors (1994-1997); former National Chair of the AAML Arbitration Committee and a Past President of the 

Academy’s Wisconsin Chapter; former Chair of the Dane County Bar Case Mediation Program; named a Wisconsin Super Lawyer (Law & Politics Media, Inc.)- 2005- 2008; listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for over 25 years. Mr. Koritzinsky was the 2011 recipient of the State Bar of Wisconsin Senior Lawyers Division Leonard L. Loeb Award for “important contributions… made to your clients and to your community through your legal expertise and personal dedication…”

He has lectured in lawyer and judicial continuing education seminars throughout his career and was a Lecturer/Instructor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. While in Viet Nam (1967-1968), he taught full semester courses in Comparative Law and Introduction to American Law at the University of Saigon Law School.

Mr. Koritzinsky is the author of numerous articles and several books, including:

  • Game Theory & the Transformation of Family Law: Change the Rules, Change the Game
  • Divorce Workbook
  • Winning Strategies in Mediation and Negotiation
  • Tax Strategies in Divorce
  • Family Law Casenotes & Quotes  

Praise for Game Theory and the Transformation of Family Law

Integrates social science with game theory to provide new tools for reaching optimal outcomes in settlement negotiations. With the suggested procedures, the most contentious custody issues will be easier to manage. The recommended processes remove incentives for intractable conflicts while helping attorneys and mediators arm parents with the skills and mindset to keep future differences from escalating to full-fledged disputes. A unique and creative contribution to family law.” 

Dr. Richard A. Warshak, author of Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing; Clinical Professor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

"Our system definitely has flaws. This book offers up some very interesting ideas on how to solve the problems in that system. Hard to disregard this book."

Ike Vanden Eykel, Esq. Firm CEO and Managing Shareholder, KoonsFuller, P.C., Dallas, Texas

Think settling a divorce case is easy? It might be if there are no major issues involved. Otherwise, getting two people highly emotionally involved with each other to agree on every issue from children to money requires a great deal of skill. Fortunately, for divorce lawyers, there is a field of study available to help. Unfortunately, most divorce lawyers are not aware of this field or how it can help. The field is ‘game theory,’ and its application to divorce negotiations is remarkable. Now, a new book by a psychologist, Kenneth H. Waldron, and a divorce lawyer, Allan R. Koritzinsky, discusses the concept of game theory and its application to divorce. This book is must reading for every lawyer involved in this field.” 

Gregg Herman, Esq., Certified specialist in family law by NBTA, Loeb & Herman S.C., Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Good family lawyers are problem solvers, sometimes having to resolve complex, problematical financial and parental disputes between high conflict adversarial parties. This book is a useful tool in aiding lawyers and mediators reach optimal results leading to settlement of the parties' differences in a way that will have lifetime positive effects for all members of the family. There are no better words that a family lawyer can hear from a former client years after the divorce is final than "Thank you. You made a difference in my life." This book and the game theory philosophy enhance the chances for that result.”

Leonard Karp, Esq., shareholder Karp & Weiss, P.C., Tucson, Arizona and co-author with psychologist wife, Dr. Cheryl L. Karp, of "Domestic Torts--Family Conflict, Violence and Spousal Abuse.

Waldron and Koritzinsky have written a gem for anyone interested in conflict theory, family conflict, and divorce in particular. Taking a sophisticated approach to the analysis and application of game theory to divorce, they provide a powerful explanation of how divorce procedures are set up to increase conflict and how they can be altered to produce more effective, durable, and constructive outcomes. They provide a sophisticated conceptual analysis and at the same time an immensely practical approach to the overall process of divorce and to the specific issues that divorcees face. In the process, they make a significant contribution to our overall understanding of conflict and conflict intervention. I really liked the book.”

Bernie Mayer, Ph.D., Professor of Dispute Resolution, The Werner Institute, Creighton University, Author, The Conflict Paradox

The authors have given an intriguing analysis of why today’s family laws – structured to be fair and equal – actually discourage settlement and encourage litigation. They go on to explain the game-like nature of bargaining over many divorce issues, and the potential influence of the court on negotiation strategy. Lastly, they show some ways that the game of divorce negotiations may be modified and designed by the lawyers and parties to be more cooperative and effective in accomplishing both parties’ interests.”

Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq., President, High Conflict Institute Co-Author, High Conflict People in Legal Disputes

Game Theory and the Transformation of Family Law by family law attorney Allan R. Koritzinsky and psychologist Kenneth H. Waldron is a must read for any family law attorney who is interested in assisting the client in reaching fair solutions in divorce cases. The family law attorney cannot directly say to the client, “This is a game I would like you to play with your spouse” to resolve your custody and financial issues, because the attorney will hear “this is not a game to me”. However, artfully directed advice to the client, using the Game Theory techniques so well developed in this book, will defuse the anger generally present in most divorces and will help the parties and their children go separate ways successfully, instead of building mistrust and increasing conflicts. Having practiced family law for over 50 years, and having negotiated hundreds of settlements, the techniques learned from this excellent book will provide me more structure and insights regarding future settlements."

Daniel J. Jaffe, Founding Partner, Jaffe and Clemens, Beverly Hills, California

This book raises the reader’s consciousness to the danger of unintended consequences arising from seemingly rational decisions. Those unintended consequences may result in hurting rather than helping the person making the decision. The authors posit a formulaic approach to decision- making in order to maximize an optimum result and avoid unintended consequences. Whether one buys into the use of formulas, matrimonial lawyers reading this book will surely broaden their thinking when considering strategic or tactical decisions and thereby better advise their clients. The book suggests a sensible big picture approach for resolving divorce cases in a problem-solving manner and contrasts that to hardball negotiations and expensive litigation where both sides are trying to gain unwarranted advantages. I recommend this book to any matrimonial lawyer."

Donald C. Schiller, Senior Partner and Chairman of Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP, Chicago, Illinois

Divorce is one of life's most difficult events, following closely the trauma, pain and anger experienced by people who lost a spouse or a child by death. Attorneys, therapists, the court system, and many other professionals have attempted for years to properly address the challenging negatives experienced by divorcing parties. Many cases result in permanent scars and ongoing anger, which negatively impact the divorcing parties, their children, other family members and other individuals and businesses, which are negatively impacted by the divorce process and the results of that process.

In my almost half a century of divorce practice, I and the attorneys and other professionals helping divorcing parties have been seeking ways to improve the methodology and the process. We sought to reduce the personal and financial cost to the parties and everyone else involved in divorces.

Over the years, we made modest improvements, such as requiring mediation, other court-ordered efforts to resolve the disputes, involvement of psychologists and other helpful professionals. Unfortunately, we have not been able to overcome the many harmful and costly negatives created by emotional and financial impacts of divorce.

After many years of analysis, testing and creation, the book, Game Theory and the Transformation of Family Law, written by attorney Allan R. Koritzinsky and psychologist Kenneth H. Waldron, has been completed and will make a dramatic positive impact to divorce cases throughout the United States and beyond. 

This outstanding and creative methodology tool will enable the professionals involved in divorce and the courts to educate clients how to apply a new way of resolving the many issues involved in a divorce case. It will have a remarkable and positive impact, reversing the negatives of divorce, which have been in place for decades. The creative and simple processes create a new methodology which will dramatically and positively impact the entire divorce process. Simply stated, this outstanding creation will result in needed improvements in reaching fair agreements and will reduce dramatically the personal and financial costs incurred by divorcing parties and others negatively impacted by the divorce.

The many professionals helping in divorce cases will be educated by the new methodologies created and taught in the book. They will then teach the divorcing parties. This will enable the parties to apply the game theories to reach settlement much faster and at lower costs. It will reduce the negative costs in money, relationships, psychological impact and other negatives associated with divorce. The effect of the application of the methodologies contained in the book will dramatically improve the divorce process for all who are involved in it. 

If applied correctly, Game Theory and the Transformation of Family law is similar to the discovery and application of penicillin, with similar dramatic improvements to people's lives.

Edward L. Winer, Retired Partner, Moss & Barnett, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Additional Books by Kenneth Waldron and Allan Koritzinsky

Winning Strategies in Divorce

The Art and Science of Using Game Theory Principles and Skills in Negotiation and Mediation

Divorce Workbook

Forming and Effective Team: Client and Attorney

Co-parenting Workbook

For Separating or Separated Parents