Are You Prepared For The Meet And Confer In Your Divorce Proceedings?
In some states, divorcing couples are required to attend a meet and confer or a divorce settlement conference. The meeting is an opportunity to attempt to settle the divorce without the court's intervention. The mandatory meeting is important and requires considerable preparation. If you have a conference scheduled, here is what you need to know.
Who Attends the Meeting?
The people who are required to attend the meeting depends largely on your state's laws. In states in which the meeting is court-ordered, the judge overseeing the divorce, the couple, and their attorneys are required to attend. The same people usually attend in a voluntary settlement conference.
In some states, the conference is known as a four-way meeting. In this type of meeting, only the divorcing couple and their attorneys are required to attend. The meeting could last throughout the day.
What Happens During the Meeting?
You should regard the meeting as a chance for discovery and settlement. During the meeting, you and your spouse will exchange documentation that is usually made available throughout the discovery process. For instance, you and your spouse might exchange pay statements that can help establish how much each of you earn.
Before the meeting, both attorneys will send a request for information that details what is needed. Your attorney will likely ask you to provide any documentation that he or she does not have available.
The meeting is also a chance for settlement. You, your spouse, and your attorneys can work on settling issues within the divorce. Ideally, both parties would be able to reach an agreement on each issue. However, if you can only agree on certain things, there will be less for the judge to rule on.
How Can You Prepare?
Due to the importance of the conference, you need to be prepared for it. One of the most important steps you can take is to meet with your divorce lawyer before the proceedings. The lawyer will help to set your expectations for the conference and help you determine what you are willing to accept in a settlement.
You also need to collect all the documentation that your lawyer requests. If you are unable to obtain the documentation, the divorce proceedings could be delayed.
In addition to these preparations, you need to prepare for the emotional stress the conference can have. It is important to keep your emotions in control throughout the conference. Contact a firm, like Hazlett & Pedemonte, for more help.