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Differences between settlement and case conferences

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  • Differences between settlement and case conferences


    I'm heading into my first settlement conference in a few weeks. I'm self representing but consulting with a lawyer, my STBX has a lawyer.

    I had a case conference in the spring and was wondering what the important differences are between the two. As far as I can see they are very similar except that the judge may be a little more forceful.

    Silly enough, we've reached an agreement on all issues except that my STBX's lawyer insists on adding two, what I would call "editorial" statements. These statements don't change the substance of the agreement but he insists on them.

    For the curious, one statement is giving a reason on the amount of SS that will be paid. The other is a statement saying that my STBX is relying on information I provided.

    If we do go to the settlement conference it should be interesting. I can see the judge asking why we are wasting their time with something so trivial.


  • #2
    At your settlement conference, you and your partner (and your lawyers if you have them) meet with a judge to discuss your issues. Every conference is a chance for you to come closer to agreeing on your issues with your partner.
    The goals of a settlement conference are to:
    • discuss ways to resolve the issues
    • hear the judge’s opinion on how the court may decide the issues
    • set the next steps needed to resolve the issues

    The main difference between a case conference and a settlement conference is the role of the judge. The judge plays a more active role at a settlement conference in trying to get you and your partner to agree on your issues.

    At a settlement conference, the judge wants to hear about any attempts that you and your partner have made at settling your issues. They are also more likely to give you an opinion, or let you know what they think, about your issues.

    If you and your partner agree on any issue during your settlement conference, the judge can make an order based on your agreement. Usually you write your agreement out in a consent agreement or minutes of settlement and the judge will make it into a consent order. The Step Bring a regular motion has information on how to make a consent order.
    The judge at your settlement conference usually doesn't decide on issues that you and your partner can't agree on.

    At the end of your settlement conference, the judge returns your settlement conference brief to you. It doesn’t remain in your court file once the conference is over. This is because the discussions at a settlement conference are private and can’t be shared with another judge or used as evidence in a motion or trial.


    • #3
      case conference you introduce the case to the courts.

      Settlement conference you look at different ways of resolving the case and will get an opinion from the judge as to how the case will be decided if it went to trial (this is only an opinion)

      The judge that hears your settlement conference won't be the same judge that would hear your trial and make a final order if there is no settlement at the settlement conference

      You should make an offer to settle - the other party will make an offer to settle - and you will try to meet somewhere in between - nobody takes all.

      Nothing said at the SC can be repeated at trial - it is extremely confidential meeting between the parties

      The settlement conference judge CANNOT force you to settle and cannot make an order WITHOUT your consent.

      If you DONT sign any document, then there is no settlement and the case moves forwards towards a trial.

      There will be other settlement opportunities especially at the exit-pretrial.

      The party that gets a final order as good or better than their offer to settle is entitled to their costs


      • #4

        I've looked at the required forms and it looks virtually identical to the case conference forms.


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