Divorces cannot become final until all the details are agreed upon. Settlement meetings give the couple one last opportunity to resolve issues before taking the case to court. If you and your spouse manage to work out your differences about child custody, visitation, spousal support, property divisions, and debt assignments, you will be able to save both time and money by staying away from the courtroom. Read on to learn more about this important pre-divorce meeting.
Settlement Meetings and Mediation
Most people are familiar with using mediation to resolve problems, but a divorce settlement meeting is different. Family court judges can order the couple to attend mediation sessions in an effort to come to some agreement about contentious issues. Third-party mediators are seldom used in settlement meetings, but mediation is another good way to turn a potential court case into an agreement.
What to Know About Settlement Meetings
These meetings are not formal events, and the way they are run depends on local custom and state law. In some locations, the meetings are held in a courtroom and are presided over by a family court judge. Usually, however, the only parties present are you and your spouse and the attorneys. You and your spouse may be able to come to an agreement at this meeting. If so, the agreement will become part of your final decree. Once it's in the agreement, you cannot change it. In most cases, issues are addressed and discussed one by one. The attorneys are present to provide advice to each side and to keep things civil and legal.
Be Prepared for Your Settlement Meeting
Being prepared for a settlement meeting means having a clear understanding of the issues being discussed. You need to know where you stand on the issues and be prepared to present reasons to support your points. You should be prepared to discuss financial matters, for example, by knowing:
The more issues you and your spouse can agree upon, the fewer issues there are that need to be decided in court. If you can resolve all of your issues, only one of you may need to show up in court for the final hearing. There is no one more qualified to make these decisions than you and your spouse. Speak to a divorce attorney like Diane Dramko, Attorney At Law to learn more about the settlement meeting.
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