Many couples who are facing divorce are intimidated by the prospects of contested litigation. Often, a contested divorce is unecessary. Agreement between the spouses to the terms of the divorce can frequently be reached. This week's blog post offers some guidance on how to maximize the probability of reaching an agreement.
schedule a meeting
The spouses should pre-schedule a meeting to discuss the options. By pre-scheduling, both spouses have an opportunity to consider the options, discuss details with a family member, attorney, or clergy as appropriate. Pre-scheduling also guarantees that neither spouse feels blind-sided, and that both spouses can gather relevant documents. Pre-scheduling also maximizes the probability that the meeting is done in a deliberative, business-like manner rather than in the heat of the moment.
MEET AT A RESTAURANT
This may appear to be a novel concept. However, having the meeting at a restaurant carries the following benefits. First, it ensures that you have a captive audience - by having to wait for your meal, you have nobody but your spouse to talk to. Second, by being in a public place, arguing and shouting are unlikely. Third, your discussion is occasionally broken up by a waiter or waitress. Finally, you will have approximately an hour to discuss matters, which should be enough time to resolve issues but not so much time that you become frustrated or fatigued. Additional meetings can be arranged as needed.
DISCUSS THE ISSUES
Both spouses should be prepared to put aside any anger and discuss the issues in a practical, professional manner. Careful attention should be given to listening to the other person. The spouses should not focus on fault, but rather should focus on the practical resolution of the issues.
resolve the issues
A binding, legal agreement need not be reached in your informal settlement discussion. Rather, a simple, informal meeting of the minds is the goal. The agreement can be memorialized on a simple sheet of paper (or even a napkin) so that neither spouse forgets the substance of the agreement. Then, a family law attorney can prepare legal documents that reflect the agreement in a form acceptable to the Court. In the meeting, both spouses should feel free to not reach an agreement; rather, if either spouse chooses to take some time to gather more information or just to reflect on the proposal, he or she should feel free to do so and the other spouse should honor such request. Of course, if an agreement cannot be reached, contested litigation is always an available option.
If you're considering divorce, you don't necessarily have to go through contested litigation. The attorneys at Christiansen Law Firm have significant experience assisting clients in reaching settlement agreements. The family law attorneys at Christiansen Law Firm have significant experience in divorce proceedings, and can assist you with resolving your case in a favorable manner. Contact the offices of Christiansen Law Firm in Houston or San Antonio to arrange a free consultation.