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Should I Settle My Case

Not every divorce or child custody case can be settled. Sometimes we tell our clients to not even start any settlement talks. 

Let’s talk about some of the situations when settlement talks are not so great. Think back about the days when you were living with the other party and things weren’t going very well.  Were you still able to reasonably talk about your disagreements or did discussions turn into screaming sessions or even violence?  If you weren’t able to reason with the other party in the past, kitchen table negotiations may hurt your case.

If you are easily intimated by the other party, you won’t do very well when negotiating important things like the custody of your children.  So, avoid discussions.

That doesn’t mean that your case will not settle.  Instead, you’ll benefit from your attorney negotiating on your behalf or with you. The attorneys at Kraayeveld Law often attend mediation with their clients to ensure that their client’s rights are protected and the client receives the best result possible. 

Often clients tell us that going to mediation is a waste of money because the other side has been so unreasonable that there’s little chance that the case will settle. In many cases, we understand (and probably agree with) the client’s perspective. Even so, we still recommend mediation. The judge will not appreciate your refusal to attend mediation. When we attend mediation, we at least figure out your ex’s position, and his or her strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, we’ve been surprised quite often when the case settled contrary to our expectations

There Are Some Pitfalls…

When settling your case, be it on your own, during mediation, or during a settlement conference with the judge, be aware of some pitfalls. 

  • If you feel guilty for the break up of the relationship, you may agree to an unfair division of assets or payment of support which you will later regret.
  • If you are stressed about having to go to court, you may want to settle to avoid the stress. If a client agrees to settle the case no matter the cost simply to avoid a court hearing, the client will likely end up with “buyer’s remorse”.
  • After a long day of settlement talks, do not sign documents just to get it done and over with.
  • After a long day of settlement talks, do not sign documents that you do not understand, but you just don’t want to look stupid.
  • Signed settlement agreements are nearly always binding.

The cost to attend mediation dwarfs in comparison to attend a trial. By the time our clients attend mediation, they have been involved in litigation for a while. They are tired, and they are sick of it.

The neutral advice from a competent mediator puts the case in perspective. The attorneys at Kraayeveld Law always select a mediator who is competent, experienced, and who has been a successful mediator.

The statistics provide that 95% of the cases settle. Logically you should prepare for a settlement. As Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”  Call the attorneys at Kraayeveld Family Law so that we can prepare your case together be it for beneficial settlement or for a successful trial.