Statistically, few cases in result in a full-blown divorce trial. At Dennigan Cahill, LLC, we are experienced in negotiating out-of-court settlements on behalf of our clients. Settlement can occur before anyone files papers in court, but it might also occur while litigation is pending in court.
When we negotiate a settlement for our client before anyone has filed papers in court, it usually results in a document called a “Marital Settlement Agreement.” A “MSA” is essentially, a contract between the spouses. The document spells out the agreements of the parties on key issues such as custody, parenting time, alimony, child support and equitable distribution. Once signed, we typically initiate proceedings for an “uncontested” divorce.
We also work with clients who are participating in mediation to achieve an out-of-court settlement. In this process, we help to advise the client on what his or her rights are, and help the client determine how best to communicate the his or her needs in the context of the mediation. While it is preferable to be able to provide a client input early on in the mediation process, we also act as a “review attorney” for mediated agreements.
Collaborative law is another way of achieving an out-of-court settlement. This process is client-centered and includes the parties and their attorneys as the core group. Other professionals may be part of the process to help inform specific issues, such as a child specialist or an accountant. Core to the process of collaborative law is the agreement of all parties (and attorneys) not to take the matter to court, except under specific circumstances. This encourages the commitment of all parties to an out-of-court settlement.