By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida
The threshold question is as follows: do you and your spouse want someone else deciding the outcome of your divorce? Your finances? Your family arrangements? That someone else, of course, is the judge. Someone who is totally unfamiliar with the family dynamics. Oftentimes judges believe that if both parties leave the courtroom feeling cheated, the judge has done a good job.
So under the best of circumstances, it is in the best interests of everyone involved, including the children, if any, for husbands and wives to come to a marital settlement agreement. In fact, in Palm Beach County, Florida, where I practice, ALL parties to a divorce must attend mediation prior to taking the case to the courtroom. This is a court administrative order. Mediation talks are strictly confidential, and nothing said there is admissible if the case should get to the judge.
So how do you know when and if you should settle? That is what we divorce attorneys are for. Attorneys can predict what a reasonable outcome might be under the law. We don’t have crystal balls on our desks, but within range and reason, we can discuss how the chips may fall. Ultimately, the decision is the client’s, but with good counsel.
Oftentimes, clients can waive their rights to some entitlement, just to get the deal done quickly and less costly. This takes cooperation and compromise. In order to waive one’s rights, let’s say, for example, to rehabilitative alimony, you have to know your entitlement. If you are willing to effect a compromise, then settlement is more likely. Collaborative divorce is less stressful, less expensive and takes less time and attorneys fees than does preparation for trial.
So trust the advice of counsel, and trust your instincts. Finally, pick your battles wisely. For more information about divorce settlements or trial information, go to our Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com or consult with one of our experienced divorce lawyers at Robin Roshkind, P.A. by calling 561-835-9091.