Hi, I am Nick Slinko of Feldstein Family Law Group.
It’s a few months before a scheduled trial and my client wants to settle his case. What do I do?
When the whole case began the parties were very far apart. Usually they move closer together on the issues with the help a judge or judges over the course of the case, from case conference, to settlement conference, various motions and spending exorbitant amounts of money litigating.
What if only my client is being reasonable and the other party is not. While we all like to think that we ourselves are reasonable and the other side is not, sometimes that is actually the case. Unfounded and unrealistic positions are sometimes taken by a party and pursued by their lawyer. The outcome, hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted.
Start with offers to settle. Provide all your disclosure so that the other party will be able to make a better choice and find your offers reasonable. Do not play games. With a trial looming it’s time to make your best offer if it has not already been made. If it is not accepted -weigh the pros and cons of trial. If it is money-based then cut your losses. If it is child-related then keep pursuing.
Weigh the cost of the trial against the amount the other side is asking for or how much you were hoping to receive. It does not pay to spend $50,000.00 when you are only $30,000 apart. As your lawyer, I go through this with you at each stage. I suggest proposals to make settlement a viable option early on and throughout. You alone provide your instructions to me. While we cannot force the other side to accept an offer we can certainly put it out there for consideration.
Sometimes the most reasonable offers go ignored and settlement cannot be reached. In those cases, go to trial and hope for the best. At least you will know that you did try to avoid trial.
The best plan is to settle early, save the high cost of litigation and keep a relationship with the other party. A trial puts parties farther apart and a relationship often cannot be salvaged. Think about what you want in the end and pursue that goal, keeping in mind the emotional impact to you and the other party.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to me today. Should you require more information and wish to schedule a consultation, please visit our website or contact our office at (905) 581-7222. Thank you.