What You Need to Know to Settle Your Case

I was recently in court participating in a settlement conference. The trial judge made several points that every party trying to settle their case must understand:

In order to reach a settlement in any type of dispute, each party must be willing to make concessions. To make concession means each party must be willing to give up something in order to attain something.

It is unreasonable to expect a party to settle for a property division that represents their worst outcome at trial. It is also unreasonable for a party to receive what represents their best outcome at trial.

If a case is not settled, then each party gives up all control over the outcome to the judge (a third party) who does not know either party and may view what is important in the case in way that neither party anticipates.

If a case is not settled, then each party gives up the opportunity to get divorced immediately. They then face what could be months of delay until the trial date, and many more months until the judge finally has time to make a decision.

The point the judge was trying to make is that to settle a case, both sides have to be willing to give us something in exchange for getting something.

Additionally, even though the parties in a divorce case are dividing one “pie,” there are usually other issues involved aside from how much of the pie each of them will receive in the property division. 

Posted in: Divorce