When parties decide to divorce it is a very difficult and painful decision. People are often confused and overwhelmed by all the decisions to be made from dividing household furniture to retirement plans to a custody and visitation schedule. To some people, no division of assets seems fair, especially when there has been betrayal or abuse in the relationship.
When the parties fail to agree on these matters this usually leads to a “contested divorce”. A contested divorce is the process of taking an issue to trial and presenting testimony and evidence so that the judge can make a final decision regarding custody, visitation, support and property division.
It is always best if the parties can work together with their attorneys to negotiate a settlement. With the help of a knowledgeable and effective attorney many parties are able to work out a resolution without having to give up all control to the judge.
If you and your spouse are not able to settle your case, you may need to proceed with trial. The first step toward trial is filing an “at-issue memorandum.” This court form gets filed by your attorney and lets the court know where the parties stand in the case. The court then sets your case for a Mandatory Settlement Conference.
The purpose of a mandatory settlement conference is to give the parties and their attorneys an opportunity to meet and discuss the pending issues in the case. When possible the parties will come to an agreement either on select issues or on all issues. If an agreement is reached on all issues then the parties can proceed to judgment.
If the parties are not able to come to an agreement they can ask the court to set another Mandatory Settlement Conference if the parties think they may be able to work things out with some more time. If the parties cannot agree they ask the court to set their case for trial.
If your case is set for trial it is important to have an attorney on your side that knows the procedures and how to work within the system. I limit my practice to Riverside and San Bernardino counties to be more effective in my representation of clients. If you’re in a divorce and your spouse is being unreasonable and won’t settle or if you’re planning on filing and know it’ll be a fight, contact the Law Office of Erica C. Affinito now for your free initial consultation. I’m not afraid to fight for you.