At this point, your attorney should be thoroughly familiar with the facts and issues of your case. You may have suggestions on the way your settlement negotiations should be handled, but you should also give a lot of weight to your attorney’s advice.
Understanding settlement negotiations will put you in a better position to take part in this critical effort to resolve everything you have worked for up until now.
Because you have informed and worked with your attorney throughout your entire divorce proceeding, you can now comfortably rely on him or her and simply continue to work as part of the team. This is the time that the facts that you have supplied, the preparation of your entire team, and your attorney’s skills will be the most valuable to your case.
Agreeing on Temporary Orders May Move Your Case Along Quicker
Some of the most important factors in your case are the temporary orders and rulings that were issued in earlier court hearings. If, after practicing temporary orders for a brief amount of time, you and your spouse find that you can live with some of them, you can submit an agreement to the court for approval or have it determined by the court itself at a hearing.
Agreeing on some of these temporary orders gives your case a higher chance of settling, since many of the issues have already been resolved and the atmosphere is calmer that it would be otherwise. You’re one or more steps toward the overall resolution already.
When Temporary Orders Need to Be Amended
On the other hand, if the temporary orders are one-sided, it normally makes it difficult to settle a case. For example, assume you were lucky at the temporary hearing and were able to get everything you wanted. You are not likely to settle for less than the temporary orders for the permanent orders.
In such a situation, your spouse may still be angry about the temporary orders and want to tip the scales the other way this time around. As a result of your earlier “win” you may have unrealistic expectations as to what the permanent orders should be, and your spouse may be bitter and vengeful.
A good attorney will be aware of this dynamic and will try to seize the opportunity by offering a small compromise that you and your spouse can live with, as opposed to you both taking the chance of placing the issue before the judge and not having any control over the ultimate outcome.
Remember that the temporary orders are typically made without full consideration of all of the facts and legal arguments in order to put something in place that maintains the status quo and protects everyone’s interests, pending a trial. Now that you are at trial you will have the opportunity to present the evidence in detail and make entirely new legal arguments, perhaps unknown at the earlier hearing.
As you deal with each issue, try to keep your mind on the overall settlement objective. For example, a request for attorney’s fees can make a case difficult to settle. (Read more about negotiating attorney’s fees.)