Basically, your Mandatory Settlement Conference Brief should cover every issue raised in your divorce case. You will include discussions of restraining orders, requests for attorney’s fees, and other items as necessary. Plan ahead. Most of the sections in your MSC Brief can be used in your Trial Brief, although your attorney will need to add material and all the legal authority needed to support your proposals regarding disputed issues.
Here’s a brief outline of what to expect from your MSC:
1. Your Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC) Brief begins with a factual background
- This may serve to introduce the family.
- Highlight important background details.
- Existing temporary orders are briefly summarized.
- Special problems should be brought to the court’s attention and a solution proposed.
2. Liabilities, Assets, Custody, and Support
- Each asset and liability is listed, briefly described, valued, and a proposed distribution suggested. For example, the house might be listed at three hundred thousand dollars with a recommendation to sell it. Household furniture and furnishings could be listed as one category with a recommendation to divide equally per a tentative agreement.
- Your child custody and visitation plan should be explained with supporting reasons. Include a statement of the success or lack of success under the temporary plan, together with a summary of any professional 730 evaluation endorsing your plan.
- Your proposal for child and spousal support and the reasoning behind it. Special needs are to be brought to the court’s attention now. Your attorney may choose to withhold your spouse’s recently discovered unreported income until trial, or may disclose this in confidence in the hope the settlement judge will lean on your spouse’s attorney or may include it in the MSC Brief.
The judge receives both MSC Briefs in advance so he or she will learn what the case is about and where the differences lie. You and your spouse exchange copies in advance to prepare for discussions to narrow the gaps that exist between the two of you without wasting time on issues that aren’t a problem.
Allow yourself every opportunity to be well represented. Let us prepare your Mandatory Settlement Conference Brief to ensure that you get what you deserve out of your case.