Negotiated (Informal) Settlements
Most cases are settled before trial. Some statistics indicate that 90-95% of all cases are settled without having to go to trial. Most clients are unfamiliar with the different options available to them to resolve their conflict, but they do have an understanding that staying out of court will be less exhausting on them and their family emotionally and financially.
In negotiated settlements, that generally means that the case was negotiated by the lawyers representing the parties in an informal settlement process, by sending settlement proposals back and forth until they are able to reach an agreement that their clients can live with. Then, the lawyers will draft that agreement into a court document that will be signed by the judge.
For the parties to feel that they are in a position to agree to such a settlement, they must usually disclose the values of their assets and liabilities with supporting documentation, and if there is any disagreement over the value, of for example, the family residence, that information can be gathered by professionals, such as real estate appraisers. Once the parties are able to agree on the values within a reasonable or acceptable range, they are then often able to reach an agreement on the division of their assets and liabilities.
Courts are generally believed to offer some level of predictability in their decisions. Unfortunately, due to the limited amount of time Courts have to hear cases, they are not able to provide the customized or unique decisions that most parties feel they will receive when they “tell the Court their story.” Clients working through their attorneys in a negotiated settlement will not only save the cost of a trial but they can design an outcome that is more fitted to their and their children’s needs.