Considerations Before Making a Settlement Proposal / by Cassandra Hearn

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The vast majority of cases end in settlement, including cases involving family law issues such as divorce or child custody. Coming to a settlement agreement helps the parties maintain control over their case, create custom solutions to the issues that are important to their families, and often times save money by avoiding taking a case all the way to trial. Creating a settlement proposal requires a lot of careful consideration and thought to make sure that you are making a long-term proposal that is good for your future. 

One important consideration is money. Divorces are financially difficult for most people and money may be tight for a while after the separation or divorce. As a result, you should carefully consider your income and your expenses as they exist now and as they will exist after the divorce. For example, are you asking to be awarded the marital residence, and if so, can you afford the mortgage and taxes on the residence on your income alone?  Even if you are asking for an award of spousal support, there is no guarantee you will receive the amount you are requesting, so it is important to budget carefully for several different contingencies. Therefore, before making a settlement proposal, you need to carefully think about your budget, bills, and income and determine if what you are offering as a settlement can work for you financially. 

If you have children with your spouse, the children are also clearly a central consideration. Parenting schedules need to take into account the children's schedules and needs as well as those of the parents. Before making a proposal, you need to consider whether the proposed exchange time and location will work with your work schedule. In addition, consider whether the parenting schedule will work for your child in the long-term. For example, your current schedule proposal may work when your child is an infant, but what about when the child is sixteen years old?  It is common to have to adjust a parenting order as a child ages, but before making a settlement offer regarding custody, you should consider how long your current schedule will be practical for the children.

Finally, think about why you are making the offer you are making. Making a settlement offer out of desperation to get the divorce done will usually result in making an offer that will not benefit you in the long run. 

If you have questions about settlement proposals and what is best for your divorce, call us today at 619-800-0384 for a consultation. We will talk about your case and what is best to help you build a secure future after divorce