The Benefits of Early Settlement

At the outset of a divorce, emotions often run high, which leads to high attorney fees.  Parties file unnecessary motions and engage in less than courteous exchanges multiplying emails to and from lawyers.  Discussing settlement early and often may not only save thousands of dollars in legal fees but spare the relationship from total destruction, especially crucial in co-parenting scenarios. It will also keep with decision-making power with the parties instead of deferring everything to the court. Each side should utilize the help of their attorneys in sorting out the issues in their divorce.  Arriving at a settlement strategy, may reveal areas that are more or less important, which focuses the divorce. If parties agree on the facts, i.e. each other's incomes, assets and their values, logistics for visits with the children, and have realistic expectation about the money, settlement can be reached even before petition for dissolution of marriage is filed with the court. Each issue such as child custody and visitation, spousal support, child support, division of property and debts has legal grounds and if both sides accept them, settlement may follow if emotions are kept in check. Hurt and angry feelings are best kept out of the legal proceedings if parties want to save on cost. It is much more economical to process those feelings in a therapist's rather than in your lawyer's office. Divorce does not have to be a lose-lose situation if both sides realize that the quicker their divorce is settled the quicker they can move on with their lives.  Children can also gain valuable experience watching their parents reach a quick compromise. If initial attempts at settlement fail, however, it is not all lost. Returning to discussions about settlement periodically may result in an eventual agreement.