Settlement conferences can be a good option to help parties to reach a quick resolution to their family law issues.
A settlement conference is a meeting that usually takes place between the parties to a dispute, each party’s legal representative, and perhaps other important parties, such as a family accountant or a children’s counsellor if they can assist the parties in reaching a resolution.
Settlement conferences have many advantages, the most compelling of which is that you are settling your matter out of court and are in control of the outcome. As well, parties get to avoid the expense, time and stress of going to court. Settlement conferences can usually be arranged within a relatively short period of time, sometimes in a manner of days, depending on the availability of all parties.
Another advantage of settlement conferences is that parties have the opportunity to raise any matters that are of concern to them. Raising them in this environment allows each party to speak freely and confidentially about all sorts of things, and for people to communicate with each other in a safe environment that might not otherwise be available to them. They are speaking directly to one another, rather than via each party’s legal representative and in many instances, many things can be raised, discussed and resolved much more promptly than communicating via each party’s lawyer allows.
Agreements reached at settlement conferences can often cover many other things and allow many more creative and versatile solutions to problems than a court might typically produce. Even the most complex of cases can be resolved following a relationship breakdown or divorce by way of a settlement conference, including financial issues and property settlements, issues related to children’s matters, spousal maintenance and child support matters.
Settlement conferences typically take place in an informal setting with everyone sitting around the table together. Sometimes it is useful to have more than one conference, if there are many issues to discuss, and the lines of communication can be reopened in many instances, assisting the parties in finding ways to communicate with each other moving forward.
Negotiating an out of court settlement requires each party to be willing to cooperate and to compromise on their positions in the interests of reaching a resolution. Whilst conversations can be frank, the best results are achieved when parties are able to approach settlement conferences with the best intentions in mind and the best interests of their children at heart. Any matter of concern or relevance to the issues in dispute can be discussed at a settlement conference.
Settlement conferences can be convened by agreement at any time where there are matters to discuss, and can be a quick and less expensive option to resolve issues between separating parties.
If an agreement can be reached at a settlement conference, the agreement can be drawn up into a formalised legal document by one of the party’s legal representatives, either at the time or subsequently. The appropriate legal documentation can then be filed with the Court and made into binding consent orders if the parties wish to have the settlement achieved formalised in this way.
At Kate Austin Family Lawyers, we have years of experience in negotiating out of court settlements and in working cooperatively but negotiating effectively on your behalf in this environment.
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