How Settlement Conferences Work in Family Law 

Many people wonder how settlement conferences work in family law. A judge’s role is to facilitate settlement. He or she will talk to the parties in a sensible way to resolve. Parties often have little idea of what they can expect legally and what is realistic. A senior judge will explain the judge’s rulings to the parties so that they can understand them better. Here are some tips to make your settlement conference more productive. 

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Preparing for a divorce settlement conference 

Whether you are settling a case by yourself or with the help of a lawyer, it is important to prepare for a divorce settlement conference by knowing what your goals are and how to approach the proceedings. As a general rule, you should prepare a detailed list of assets and debts, including information about checking and savings accounts, stocks, retirement funds, pension plans, and real estate and personal property. You should also make an inventory of debts, including car loans, medical bills, and student loan payments. 

Preparing for a mediated settlement conference 

Before attending a mediated settlement conference, you should prepare. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork ready, including any exhibits. You must have all documents served within the required time frame, or the court staff may reject your papers. In addition, you must file your divorce papers with the court at least four days in advance of the settlement conference. Make sure to label any exhibits by number. The judge will send a notice of the settlement conference to the parties and their attorneys. 

Preparing for a pre-trial settlement conference 

In family law, the first step in preparing for a pre-trial settlement conference is to gather all financial information for both parties. The documents you need to share include proof of your current income, assets, and debts. The more detailed you are, the more likely you will achieve the desired outcome. To help you prepare for the pre-trial conference, read the instructions below. 

Having a senior judge in a settlement conference 

In a settlement conference, a senior judge can provide important insight. The purpose of a judge is to facilitate a resolution. A judge can explain what is reasonable and what isn’t, so the parties can come to an understanding. The senior judge will have a similar understanding of the law and the presiding judge’s role and can help parties understand what the judge is looking for. 

Having a mediator in a settlement conference 

Using a mediator in a settlement conference can help you get the best possible outcome for your case. The mediator will position themselves in between the two parties, and act as a third party. This is especially important in cases where relationships are at stake, such as relatives vying for the same estate, a business, and a long-time supplier squabbling over a contract, and so on. A skilled mediator can help resolve any grudges and restore goodwill between the parties. 

Goals of a settlement conference 

Settlement conferences are required in family law cases, in which the parties can’t agree on their own. There are 2 main goals of these conferences: determining whether the case can be settled permanently, and exchanging information for the trial judge. The presiding judge may request more time if there is no agreement. Usually, these conferences last about an hour. However, in some cases, the judge may ask for more time to complete the settlement.