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Family Law... What is a Judicial Settlement Conference?

I have found that Judicial Settlement Conferences have been the most effective, amicable, and inexpensive way for clients to reach an agreement without the need for a Hearing or a Trial.

Danika Beaulieu – June 2019

When clients think of a court process, they often picture a Hearing or a Trial with two lawyers battling each other in front a judge constantly screaming “OBJECTION!” while attempting to destroy the other side’s arguments. While this is certainly a process that is available (although usually a lot less dramatic than it may appear on television), there are other court processes available that are a lot less adversarial and more cost conscious.

If you are a client of MDW Law, have had an Initial Consultation with us or are thinking of scheduling an Initial Consultation with us, I can almost guarantee  we have or will discuss the possibility of participating in a Judicial Settlement Conference at some point during our meetings. I have found that Judicial Settlement Conferences have been the most effective, amicable, and inexpensive way for clients to reach an agreement without the need for a Hearing or a Trial. This is true for even some of the most difficult cases that I never believed would settle without a Hearing or a Trial.

I like to describe a Judicial Settlement Conference as a mediation with a judge. Settlement Conferences are conducted with all of the parties, their counsel (if applicable), and a judge.  The purpose is to try to reach an agreement on all or some of the outstanding issues with the assistance of the judge. The judge participating in the Settlement Conference will not make a decision at the end of the Conference, nor will they be the judge hearing the matter if the matter proceeds to Court. Their purpose is to give their opinion to the parties and try to assist them in reaching an agreement that is acceptable to everyone involved.

Like any other process, there are pros and cons to a Judicial Settlement Conference. The pros of participating in a Settlement Conference are:

The cons of participating in a Judicial Settlement Conference are:

If you believe a Settlement Conference could be helpful to you, please do not hesitate to contact one of our MDW Law lawyers for more information.  

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