This is the second video in a series of videos on how to settle your divorce or custody case outside of the courtroom. In the first video I talked about trying to get a settlement the good old fashioned way, by writing letters or exchanging emails back and forth with the other party to see if you can reach some sort of agreement on the contested issues. In this video I want to talk to you about what’s called an informal settlement conference.
A settlement conference is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a conference where you sit down the other party and you try and settle things. As a divorce attorney I do a lot of these informal settlement conferences. Sometimes when people are represented by an attorney, the other party will just head over to my office and we sit down and try to hammer things out informally.
There is no court reporter, judge or mediator present. It is just the 4 of us trying to talk through the issues in their divorce or child custody case. When the other party is not represented by an attorney, if they feel comfortable they again come to my office and we try and hammer it out informally. There are other times when my client sits with their soon to be ex or ex partner and they sit down maybe at a Starbucks and they talk about the issues and the best way to reach an agreement on those issues.
If they do reach an agreement oftentimes my client will bring me the agreement and show me what they have agreed to, we make sure it all looks good and then I put it into a final form. Informal settlement conferences can be very effective. One thing I will say is that if you are a victim of domestic violence. If you are afraid of the other party for some reason or if you’ve been the victim of financial exploitation, then it may be that you have someone you trust and can protect you and who is looking out for your interests before you sit down with the other party alone.
When you have a divorce attorney it is important to run any agreements that you’re thinking about entering into with your attorney that you are on the right track and that you are not giving away too many rights that is contrary to the law. Informal conference divorce settlements really work. In your divorce or custody case I want you to ask yourself if a informal settlement conference be something that I can do? You could save yourself heartache, time and money and get your case settled efficiently and in the best interest of both you and your family.