How To Settle Your Divorce Case Before It Goes To Trial
The vast majority of California divorce cases are settled before ever going to trial. Even if the circumstances that led up to your divorce have you feeling like the film “Kramer vs. Kramer,” the reality of ironing out a settlement that both you and your spouse can live with is more likely to look like the negotiation handbook “Getting To Yes.”
Our firm works with clients in San Francisco and the surrounding area, and we are familiar with state and local laws impacting divorce cases.
What Are The Benefits Of Settling Before A Divorce Trial?
Judges can order mandatory settlement conferences before a divorce case heads to trial. Being able to resolve some or all of your issues at this conference can benefit you in the following ways:
- You may save money. Trials can be costly, especially if your attorney needs to hire experts to make your case.
- You may gain greater control of the settlement terms. At trial, judges must strictly apply existing laws to your case. In a settlement, you and your spouse may be able to negotiate more generous or flexible terms.
- You may avoid the exhaustion of a trial. A contentious trial can compound your emotional and physical suffering during your divorce.
A lawyer from our firm can work with you to craft settlement strategies that will protect you and your children.
Tips For Reaching A Fair Divorce Settlement
Your pretrial settlement conference could take place in front of a mediator, or with a judge or other judicial officer. Here are a few tips for making the process successful for you.
- Understand the guidelines that state law provides on divorce matters, and base your settlement offer terms on this knowledge.
- Know what your “bottom lines” are in the categories of child custody, child and spousal support, and property division, but don’t open with your walkaway offer.
- Prepare for some give and take in the negotiations — the first offer presented may not be the final offer. Exercise patience!