In California, when the court sets a trial date, it also sets a Mandatory Settlement Conference, where the parties must specifically set forth their issues of contention and the amount of court time they believe will be necessary to have a trial on those issues. The Mandatory Settlement Conference generally occurs approximately two weeks to one month prior to trial.
By this time, all parties are mandated to have provided all the documents requested of each other and obtained all necessary evidence required to support their various positions. This may include documentation from appraisers or expert witnesses.
Our goal is to minimize the expense and time associated with litigation. Therefore, we often engage in voluntary settlement conferences set in either attorney’s office. We attempt to complete all discovery and compile all evidence necessary in support of our issues of contention, and we encourage our opposing counsel to do the same. Thereby, we are able to drastically cut down the amount of time necessary to resolve all issues and complete the divorce.
In our experience, it is beneficial for both parties to find resolution to as many issues as possible during voluntary settlement conferences. By minimizing the number of issues being tried by the court, a shorter trial time estimate is provided to the court, often resulting in a faster overall resolution.
Our reputation of unparalleled success at trial is an immeasurable tool for negotiation and settlement. Furthermore, our ability to assess the best case and worst case scenarios on issues allows us to determine the extent to which an issue should be settled or whether it should be set for trial.
While we stress compromise, we are prepared to represent our clients’ best interests in both settlement conferences and the courtroom.