Many times, a divorce court will include in pretrial orders a requirement that the parties hold a “settlement conference” or “4-way meeting.” Other times the attorneys on a case will propose to their clients that they schedule a 4-way meeting without a court order. But why would you want to sit across from your soon-to-be ex spouse in some conference room with two attorneys to try to “hash it out”? If you could “hash it out” you two wouldn’t need attorneys, right?
Despite many client’s reluctance to discuss their personal issues with their ex in front of their attorneys, it is often an invaluable settlement tool. It allows parties to feel like they have been heard, and to listen to the concerns that their ex has about the divorce. It facilitates identifying what topics are really non-issues, where both parties are in total agreement. And, it allows the parties to get creative in finding solutions that work for both parties and your unique family.
Talk to your attorney about your concerns and goals before a 4-way meeting. Investing time in preparing before the meeting, and exercising a little patience during the meeting, can often lead to positive results.