Regardless of how complex your divorce may be, it is important to know you have the opportunity to settle your divorce without going to trial. In fact, most divorce cases are settled without the need for a trial.
What Does it Mean to Resolve My Divorce Without Going to Trial?
When you reach a settlement in a divorce case, it means that both parties have agreed to the terms and provisions of a Marital Settlement Agreement. The Marital Settlement Agreement outlines each spouse’s rights and responsibilities regarding all issues between them (e.g. division of property, maintenance, child support, children’s expenses, attorney’s fees, income taxes and allocation of parental responsibilities). You and your spouse will then present the final Marital Settlement Agreement to the court during a “Prove-Up” for approval and entry of the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Said process is referred to as a “prove-up” hearing.
In order to reach a final Marital Settlement Agreement, you will be required to participate in settlement conferences and negotiations.
The Goal of a Settlement
The goal of a settlement is to reach agreement between the parties regarding all of the issues (e.g. maintenance, child support, direct expenses of the children, the allocation of assets and liabilities, the allocation of parental responsibilities, etc.), thereby alleviating the need to go to trial.
You will always have the opportunity to provide input regarding settlement negotiations in order to reach a settlement that is in your best interests, and you will always have the final say in whether or not to accept the settlement terms.
Depending on your situation, the Court may order you and your spouse to attend Mediation with an approved Mediator in an effort to resolve matters in an efficient manner.
The Benefits of Divorce Settlements
If both you and your spouse actively participate in productive settlement negotiations, resolving your divorce without going to trial is likely in your best interests.
Trial often requires lengthy preparation, can lead to substantial attorney’s fees and costs, and we cannot predict how a Court will ultimately rule. By participating in productive settlement discussions, you have the ability to negotiate issues such as the allocation of parental responsibilities and the allocation of assets and liabilities in an effective and efficient manner.
What Happens if We Can’t Resolve My Divorce Through Settlement?
Although settlement is most often in your best interest, you and your attorney may decide that going to trial is the best option to resolve your case. This may be the result of major disagreements over key issues such as the allocation of parental responsibilities or the valuation of a business. In other cases, your spouse may be unwilling to participate in productive settlement negotiations. Your position regarding settlement may vary from your position at trial because settlement proposals and negotiations are for settlement purposes only and cannot be presented to the Court for any reason.
Looking for an Experienced Divorce Attorney?
The Law Office of David A. King, P.C. specializes in complex divorce cases. Let our experienced attorneys help you negotiate a settlement that is in your best interests. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.