Divorce can be a stressful and emotional process, and the last thing you need is to have your private matters scrutinized by strangers. This is why many Californians going through a divorce wonder how to protect their privacy and avoid exposing personal and financial details to the public.
Fortunately, there is a way to increase your privacy and resolve divorce issues without going to trial: divorce settlement conferences.
What is it?
A divorce settlement conference is a meeting between you, your spouse, your respective attorneys and a neutral third party who facilitates the negotiation. The third party can be a judge, a mediator or another attorney.
The goal of the conference is to help you and your spouse reach an agreement on all the issues in your divorce, such as property division, spousal support, child custody and child support.
A divorce settlement conference can be voluntary or mandatory, depending on your case and the court’s rules. Some courts require divorcing couples to attend a settlement conference before they can schedule a trial.
Other courts allow couples to choose whether they want to have a settlement conference or not.
What are the benefits?
A divorce settlement conference has many advantages over going to trial. First, a settlement conference allows you to discuss your issues privately, without having to disclose them in open court. Your personal and financial information will remain confidential, and anything you say during the conference cannot be used as evidence if you end up going to trial.
This can avoid unwanted publicity and protect your reputation.
A settlement conference gives you more control over the outcome of your divorce. You and your spouse can decide what issues are important to you and how to resolve them. You can also tailor the agreement to fit your specific needs and preferences. If you go to trial, a judge will make decisions that may not reflect your wishes or interests.
A settlement conference can save you money and time by avoiding a trial. Trials are expensive, time-consuming and unpredictable. You may have to pay court fees, expert witnesses, discovery costs and attorney fees. You may also have to wait for months or even years before your case is resolved.
A settlement conference can reduce the conflict and stress that often accompany a divorce. By working together with your spouse and reaching a mutually acceptable agreement, you can avoid the hostility and animosity that often result from a trial.
This can help you preserve a civil relationship with your spouse, especially if you have children together.