Clients often think that once attorneys are involved in a divorce case it automatically means that they will not be able to settle their case without court intervention. However, even when attorneys are involved, cases settle out of court. A ‘four-way meeting’ (as we often refer to these conferences) is a session where the attorneys and the clients meet with the idea that the parties will attempt to come to a resolution.
For some clients this face to face meeting with their soon to be ex is the last thing they want to do. Below is a guide to getting through these meetings with less anxiety and to achieve a positive outcome.
Prepare with your attorney before the meeting. It is important to lay out and discuss the facts and issues with your attorney prior to the meeting. It is also important for your attorney to know what your concerns and desires are before the meeting.
Stay focused on the issues at hand. Often times clients get distracted at these meetings and want to bring up issues that are not relevant to settlement. For example, emotional and/or physical issues may only lead to bad feelings between the parties and may prevent productive negotiations and discussions regarding the relevant issues. You will be benefitted greatly by venting to your attorney or your friends before the meeting and by staying focused on the relevant issues at the meeting.
Listen to the other side. If parties are cutting each other off and failing to listen to the other side critical information and bad feelings could result in a lost opportunity. Listening to the other side and saving comments for later may be the best way to resolve outstanding issues. You do not have to agree with everything or anything the other side is saying but hearing them out may lead to benefits for you.
Settlements and out of court resolutions are more cost effective and emotionally beneficial in many cases. Discussing these options with your attorney may benefit all involved parties.
Samantha J. Evian dedicates her practice exclusively to representing family law clients in all aspects of divorce, support, child custody, alimony, equitable distribution, domestic violence and same-sex divorces and custody matters. She has extensive experience with international divorce cases, complex divorce matters, custody matters, and pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Ms. Evian is also listed in Super Lawyers®. She can be reached at 215- 665-3022 or at Samantha.Evian@obermayer.com.