San Jose Divorce Attorney Discusses the Virtue of Settlement
Many times in a dissolution, people plan for a contested trial on all the issues, and ultimately, they end up settling the issues, sometimes with and sometimes without the Court’s involvement. Recently, our firm handled a case that we expected to go to trial for multiple days. Surprisingly, and at the eleventh hour, the parties came to a settlement agreement, with the Court’s assistance. You may be wondering what would be the point in settling so late in the game?
Trials are a risk for all parties involved, in most cases. By going to trial, you are deciding that the judge, a third party, should make the decision, not you. Often this means that when a decision is made nobody is happy with it. Judges sometimes try to split the difference, to make orders that will make one party happy on one issue, and the other on a different issue. But at the end of the day, nobody gets 100% of what they asked for, and they are unhappy.
Settlement, on the other hand, is driven by the parties. The ultimate decision to settle or not rests in your hands, as a party. You get to decide if this agreement will make you happy. Or at least if you can live with it. You’ve taken some control over the situation.
So for example, in this recent case, Husband and Wife were married for about ten years. Through some crazy turns of events, they ended up litigating their divorce for roughly the same amount of time. The issues for trial were spousal support, property division and attorney fees. By the time trial rolled around, the parties had repeatedly been to settlement conferences and meetings with no resolution. The day of trial the judge announced he believed the parties, with counsel, should make a last ditch settlement effort. It took multiple offers back and forth, and a lot of involvement by the judge as a mediator, but at the end of the day, the parties had an agreement. They walked out of court that afternoon with a signed agreement in hand, a sense of resolution, and some finality. They also felt they had some control over the outcome, which made them happier with the terms of the agreement. Rather than putting their future in the hands of someone who barely knows them, barely knows their case, they were able to put their good judgment ahead of some significant emotions and come to an agreement.
Settlement isn’t for every case. Some cases, some issues have to be litigated to their conclusion. Regardless, our offices can assist you with resolving the issues in your family law case, be they spousal support, child support, custody, visitation or property division. Maybe some of your issues are best left to the judge at trial. Maybe others can be settled with some assistance. Let the attorneys here at Sagaria Law help you make those decisions. We offer a free consultation, either in person or over the phone. We have five Bay Area locations, including Salinas, Monterey, Redwood City, Fremont and San Jose. We handle cases all over the Bay Area, and we can handle yours. Call today to arrange your free consultation.