In divorce cases, the parties and their counsel can arrange and meet to do a ‘four-way informal settlement conference.’ Here’s what you should know about how these settlement conferences work during divorce, and what to avoid during the process to get the most out of such meetings.
Use your commitment to get results A four way meeting involves four parties during the divorce, typically you and your divorce attorney, and your spouse and his divorce attorney. Going into such a meeting during the divorce process, it is important to keep an open mind and be willing to listen. If you have decided to take the route of divorce to work through your differences on things like division of financial assets and custody of the children, then a four way meeting is an important milestone.
Prepare! Don’t go into a four way meeting unprepared, that is the single worst thing you can do for your case. Have all the information related to finances, work schedules, assets to be divided, custody or whatever else relates even remotely to the details you hope to discuss in the four way meeting. Have your set of goals in mind and be clear on what you want out of this meeting. Come with alternatives and your ‘next best’ option if you aren’t making headway with getting to your ideal outcome.
Speak up This is a unique opportunity for you to sit across the table from your ex and work through your differences to a level where you are able to arrive at some kind of arrangement that you can both live with. Because both attorneys are also present, you can go over legal aspects and whether the solutions will hold in court. Unlike a regular divorce mediation meeting, a four way meeting may not involve a mediator, so you will not be ‘given’ a chance to speak, you will have to take it.
Be realistic Don’t expect miracles in just one four way meeting. See it as a stepping stone to your ultimate goal of working out a mutually agreeable divorce settlement through the course of the divorce process. You may discuss only some aspects in this meeting, and deal with others later or through your attorneys.
Don’t show your weakness Avoid getting too emotionally charged up, this will show your hand to your ex and give them a window to what matters most. If they’re bitter or vindictive, they could use your weakness to do you out of some other financial assets, by using this weakness as leverage.