What is a divorce settlement conference


A divorce settlement conference is a meeting where the spouses and attorneys work on the terms and conditions of property division, alimony, child support, and custody and visitation. They negotiate and find compromises on these issues because through compromise and negotiation the parties attempt to avoid a trial.

The settlement conference gives divorcing couples a chance to review all the issues at stake and to work toward a mutually beneficial settlement, instead of letting a court decide for them. Settlement conferences typically involve more structured negotiation and dispute resolution techniques.Aug 12, 2019


What to expect at your divorce settlement conference?

Some important things to keep in mind include:

  • A variety of important decisions may be discussed. If you and your spouse are able to cooperate, you can reach a settlement agreement on many different matters, including property division, …
  • Attorneys may or may not be present. …
  • Mediation may be a good option. …
  • More than one conference may be necessary. …
  • A judge can get involved. …

What happens during a settlement conference?

In a settlement conference, a judge or volunteer attorney assists the parties by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the case and attempting to negotiate a settlement of the dispute, but without making any decisions or orders in the case. Settlement conferences may be either mandatory (court-ordered) or voluntary.

What to ask for in a divorce settlement agreement?

What you need to know:

  • Who is responsible for the debt after divorce?
  • Credit card, tax and personal loan debt
  • Student loans
  • Any lawsuits, including bankruptcies
  • Life insurance policies in divorce settlement
  • Long-term care insurance in divorce settlement
  • Wedding and engagement rings in divorce
  • Separation of credit and bank accounts
  • College tuition for the kids

More items…

How to calculate a fair financial divorce settlement?

  • to the amount of money involved;
  • to the importance of the case;
  • to the complexity of the issues; and
  • to the financial position of each party;

What happens after mandatory settlement conference?

If a settlement is reached, the settlement documents are prepared, signed by all parties, and thereafter submitted to a judge for approval. The judge will then review the settlement to determine whether it is fair and reasonable. If so, the judge will then issue an Award and/or Order approving the settlement.

What is mandatory settlement conference?

The purpose of a Mandatory Settlement Conference (or “MSC”) is to encourage parties in a divorce, legal separation or nullity case to settle their matter in whole or in part. Accordingly, all parties must attend this court appearance.

What is a settlement conference statement?

(c) Settlement conference statement (4) A statement identifying and discussing in detail all facts and law pertinent to the issues of liability and damages involved in the case as to that party. The settlement conference statement must comply with any additional requirement imposed by local rule.

What should I wear to a divorce settlement conference?

It’s suggested you wear a pair of comfortable shoes. The last thing you want is to be distracted by tight shoes, or worse yet, pain from a blister. Dressing in a professional manner sets the tone for a professional meeting when negotiating your marital settlement agreement with your spouse.

How do you prepare for a mandatory settlement conference?

Settlement conferences may be mandatory (required by the court) or voluntary. Regardless of the type of settlement conference, you should prepare by thinking about what you want and the minimum amount you are willing to settle for. Talk about the case with a lawyer and then submit all required paperwork.

Are settlement conference statements confidential?

Code § 1121.) In contrast, “settlement conferences” themselves are not confidential. Instead, what is confidential are the parties’ demands and settlement offers, which cannot be introduced at trial to prove liability under Evidence Code section 1152.

What document must be filed before a mandatory settlement conference?

You must file a Case Management Statement (CM-110). Rule 3.725 of the California Rules of Court says every party has to file this form at least 15 days before the first Case Management Conference. Parties may file a joint statement that they all sign or they may file individual statements.

What is an early settlement conference?

Early Settlement Conferences are named so because they generally occur early on in the litigation process – typically within 6 months after the initial filing. This can often be advantageous, as well, because it allows you to settle differences before they escalate any further.

Do you file mandatory settlement conference statements?

Yes. Written statements of the position of each party must be submitted to the settlement conference judge and served on other parties five court days prior to the settlement conference, unless otherwise ordered.

Can you wear jeans to mediation?

You want to be well-groomed and dress somewhat conservatively. Button-down shirts and blouses, sweaters, slacks or khakis are all appropriate choices. You may also wear jeans to a deposition or mediation if they are clean and without tears.

What happens in family court final hearing?

At the final hearing, the Judge will decide about the contact and residency arrangements for the children. The final hearing is usually a formality to make clear the final decisions about the court order that outlines the requirements for the arrangements for the children.

What color should a woman wear to court?

What Color Should a Woman Wear to Court? Darker, more serious colors are preferable, and bright colors should be avoided. The best colors to wear to court are “conservative” colors (white, blue, navy, gray, and the like) and to steer clear of crazy patterns and shocking fashion statements.

What issues are discussed at a divorce settlement conference?

These issues may include child custody and visitation, child support, dividing marital property, and alimony. You’ll want to be very specific in any agreement so that there’s no room for argument down the road.

Why do settlement conferences happen?

Settlement conferences usually take place late in a case and often happen because a judge orders one. A mediator may be present at your settlement conference, but in most cases a judge, not a mediator, will supervise and facilitate the meeting. A settlement conference will give you and your spouse the opportunity to discuss your case …

What assets should be included in a settlement?

Your inventory of assets will likely include checking and savings account information, stocks, retirement funds, pension plans, real estate or personal property.

Is it better to settle at a mediation or settlement conference?

There are some real advantages to settling at a mediation or settlement conference. Namely, you’ll have been able to decide your case on your terms. You know your case and your family the best, so couples are often happiest with their divorce agreements and final judgments when they’ve been able to settle things themselves.

Do you have to attend trial in divorce?

For example, if you and your spouse are only able to resolve a few, but not all issues in your divorce, then you’ll still have to attend trial to resolve the remaining issues in your case. You control what issues are decided at a settlement conference, and how they are decided.

Do you have to go to mediation before a divorce?

Today, most states require divorcing spouses to attend mediation before a judge will schedule a divorce trial. A settlement conference is different than mediation. At a mediation, a neutral third-party mediator will shuffle between you and your spouse in an effort to facilitate settlement.

What will happen at the divorce settlement conference?

The settlement conference gives divorcing couples a chance to review all the issues at stake and to work toward a mutually beneficial settlement, instead of letting a court decide for them.

Pros and Cons of a Divorce Conference Settlement

If you are well prepared and willing to negotiate, there is little downside to participating in a divorce settlement conference.

How to prepare for a settlement conference

Before a divorce settlement conference, discuss how you will prepare with your attorney. Preparation should involve setting goals and obtaining and preparing the documents and other evidence you need to support those goals.

What is a divorce settlement conference?

A divorce settlement conference is a meeting where the spouses and attorneys work on the terms and conditions of property division, alimony, child support, and custody and visitation. They negotiate and find compromises on these issues because through compromise and negotiation the parties attempt to avoid a trial.

How long does a settlement conference last?

Settlement conferences can last a few hours or days. They can be heated and arduous. Offers and counteroffers can be exchanged ad nauseam and nerves become stretched. But, even the worst settlement conferences can lead to satisfying settlement agreements.

How do spouses negotiate divorce?

Sometimes divorcing spouses negotiate settlement agreements through direct communication, indirect communication through their attorneys, and collaboration. When spouses sit down to negotiate, both must remember to keep their emotions in check, and then the path towards resolving the divorce becomes more seamless and less bumpy.

What does compromise mean in divorce?

Compromise means that neither spouse is completely happy but both spouses can live with the outcome. A settlement meeting gives the spouses an opportunity to hash out details of a divorce without the pressure of a court issuing a ruling at the end of the day. A complicated divorce may require several settlement meetings.

Why do divorce lawyers work for settlement?

Reputable divorce lawyers always work for a settlement rather than a trial because going to trial escalates the cost of a divorce exponentially and also introduces the element of surprise. Good lawyers make their best efforts to settle their clients’ cases without a trial.

What are the four issues that can be resolved during a divorce conference?

Generally four overarching issues can snag a divorce, legal separation and the dissolution of a domestic partnership — child custody and support, alimony and property division.

How long before trial is a settlement conference?

The settlement conference gives the parties a final opportunity to settle before going to trial, and it is typically scheduled 30 days before trial.

What to Expect During a Divorce Settlement Conference

A divorce settlement conference is not a court date. It is a chance for you and your spouse to sit down, review the issues involved in your case and work together toward a mutually beneficial solution. A voluntary conference is a settlement negotiation in a structured setting, with or without lawyers.

What if Divorce Settlement Fails?

If you and your spouse cannot agree on issues such as property division, child custody, parenting time, child support and spousal maintenance, a divorce settlement conference may fail. You and your spouse will then take the divorce case to court, forfeiting all control over its outcome.

Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer?

It will generally be in your best interest for a divorce settlement conference to succeed. To optimize the odds of reaching a pretrial settlement, hire a lawyer to represent your side of the case. Rather than complicating things, a lawyer can get to the heart of the matter and facilitate honest, open conversations between you and your spouse.

The procedure of a settlement conference

Both the parties in a settlement conference will provide a brief background about the dispute to the judge so they can help in resolving the case. The judge will then meet the attorneys of the parties separately and listen to their part of the case. This section of the settlement conference is not always attended by the parties themselves.

Purpose of a settlement conference

The main purpose of a settlement conference is to save the cost and time of both the parties and the court by encouraging them to reach an out-of-court settlement and avoid going for a trial.

Who manages the settlement conference?

The settlement conference is conducted by the provincial court judge. However, if the judge couldn’t reach the settlement in a lawsuit, then a trial judge will hear the case who will not be the same who heard the case at a settlement conference.

Why are settlement conferences required?

Settlement conferences are good to settle small claims issues and lawsuits that don’t require open court hearings or trial dates. Except for the cases where the motor vehicle accidents caused property damage.

Who should attend the settlement conference

The parties involved such as claimants/plaintiffs, defendants, and any other involved third party must attend the settlement conference.

Options to consider after a settlement conference

After the arguments and personal meetings between lawyers from both sides and the judge, if the case reaches a settlement, then a judge would immediately issue an order listing down the terms of the settlement.

What happens at the divorce settlement conference?

Each Judge and County conduct these conferences differently. Ask your lawyer to detail the process that is ahead in your case.

The Importance Of Email Ahead Of A Settlement Conference

I ask my clients to email me their position on all contested items to review before the settlement conference. That list can be very helpful so the lawyers can efficiently work through issues and ultimately focus on the “sticky” items. Remember, the lawyers may be conferencing together outside your presence for some or all the proceeding.

A very successful divorce attorney who worked at our law firm, Anne Shale, wrote a blog article about this topic in February 2011. She outlined the benefits of settlement conferences as follows

Savings of money: Litigation is expensive! If all disputed issues are to be litigated or “tried” before the Court, there may be hourly fees to be paid for one (1), to two (2), to three (3) days of trial time.

Both Sides Will Need To Negotiate To Reach Desired Resolution In Divorce

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of advance preparation and getting on the same wavelength with your divorce lawyer before the settlement conference. Your probability of resolution will increase greatly if you follow these steps. Of course, it likely will take both sides to negotiate in good faith to reach settlement. Good luck!

Pros and Cons of a Divorce Settlement Conference

There are a lot of advantages to reaching an agreement with your ex through a divorce settlement conference, rather than litigating the case in court. Some of those advantages include:

Preparing for the Settlement Conference

Your divorce attorney serving Gilbert will help you prepare for your divorce settlement. You will talk through your goals for the settlement, including what assets you want to get, whether you plan to ask for alimony, the child custody agreement you want, and so on.

What do you need to know before going to a divorce conference?

However, before going to the conference, you need to know your goals. These will depend on the type of case. In a divorce dispute, for example, you’ll need to determine child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal maintenance (alimony). You should figure out what you want in all areas.

What is the role of a mediator in a settlement?

A mediator’s job is to guide the discussion and to get the two sides listening to each other. Even if a judge runs the conference, realize that they will not be deciding anything during it.

What to do if a settlement fails?

If settlement fails, then you’ll probably have to go to court. You should analyze whether you’re likely to win at court. If so, then you can be aggressive at the settlement conference. If your case is weak, then you probably should seek resolution during the settlement conference.

How to find an attorney for a settlement?

You can find an attorney by contacting your local or state bar association and asking for a referral.

Can you settle a case partially?

In effect, you can partially settle, and the judge often likes to see this effort on your part as well. Make sure to show the draft agreement to a lawyer before signing. You can also agree to schedule another settlement conference. One conference might not be enough to resolve all issues.

Can you use settlement conference statements against you?

Generally, any statement you make in a settlement conference cannot be used against you later in court. For example, if you offer to pay someone $50,000 for their injuries, they can’t use this statement later to show that you are accepting responsibility for their injuries.

Is a settlement conference mandatory?

Settlement conferences may be mandatory (required by the court) or voluntary. Regardless of the type of settlement conference, you should prepare by thinking about what you want and the minimum amount you are willing to settle for. Talk about the case with a lawyer and then submit all required paperwork. Steps.


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