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  • Final Settlement Conference- What to expect?

    I am responding to a pretty sketchy application (not a motion to change). Main claim for sole custody (no foundation) but other really strange claims and a completely false claim for arrears.

    8 year separation, 6 year detailed agreement that ex breaches at will.
    File started summer 2018.
    4 conferences. All circus like. No progress.

    I submitted 4 offers.
    They sent me one a few weeks ago that added a bunch of conditions and a threat for full indemnity costs if I did not accept that day.
    Lawyer refuses to discuss in any way until I lawyer up.

    I am a professional accountant, forensics experience and training, lots of audit on complex files, trained in ADR.

    My experience with the 4 case conferences was they were really unproductive.
    The lawyer tried to introduce loads of red herrings and and was corrected but wasted all the time. They are hell bent on a trial for some reason.
    Judges were attentive to my position and complimentary, but absolutely no progress. Always ends with go away and settle this it should not really be in court. You have a separation agreement!

    I sent my final brief and am taking some evidence with me in case including clear evidence of misconduct by other lawyer in writing telling the ex to ignore the separation agreement.

    This is a final conference in chambers , not in court. Two hours scheduled. Anyone been there? If yes any advice?

  • #2
    Settlement conference will only work if both sides are reasonable and motivated to end the legal nightmare. Mine went nowhere and been at it since 2014. My ex lawyer is a money hungry thief. We went round in circles on every settlement conference including mediation. If you are dealing with ex who is difficult the chance is great that you will get more of the same. Go straight to trial as it could be cheaper in the long run.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Helpmyspouse View Post
      Settlement conference will only work if both sides are reasonable and motivated to end the legal nightmare. Mine went nowhere and been at it since 2014. My ex lawyer is a money hungry thief. We went round in circles on every settlement conference including mediation. If you are dealing with ex who is difficult the chance is great that you will get more of the same. Go straight to trial as it could be cheaper in the long run.
      Thank you. Last conference the judge was pretty hard on the lawyer (I am self rep). I am hoping it is the same judge.
      Since I am self rep not costly for me but I will claim self rep costs.
      It kills me that the many thousands of dollars I pay for the kids needs is feathering an unethical and incompetent lawyer's retirement fund.
      Ex once told the kids she could not afford to pay for things because she has legal bills because their father is a jerk. They don't listen to her crap thankfully.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think it weakens your position needlessly to claim self rep costs. Leave her to be the one being vindictive and financially motivated. Donít say it, just focus on what is best for the kids, her actions speak for themselves.

        Get off of that track - that money is to support the kids. Period. Itís none of your business and hurts your position and attitude to waste any time or attention on what happens after that. This comes across as you being vindictive and financially motivated. If you continue to focus on this it will come through to the judge even if you donít say it. In the eyes of a third party like me or a judge it puts you in a similar position to your ex in terms of attitude and motivation. You may be entirely correct but it doesnít matter. I say this for your benefit and your kids. I know you donít say negative things about her but I guarantee that the negative thoughts you have about this ďit kills me that...Ē comes through. The kids sense it, the judge senses it and mire than that itís poisonous to you. I know you have been through a great ordeal and continue to face that but you need to work hard at thinking about and focusing on all the positives. Put every thought into enjoying time with your kids. Treasure every moment. When you meet with anyone you want your love and happiness for the time with your kids to shine through. Whenever you start focusing on money or on your exís behavior catch yourself and start thinking about how wonderful it is to spend time with your children.

        To change what you are thinking about is not intuitive but it can be done. Iíll adapt three questions that I think may have originated with Tony Robbins - but they work. Ask yourself three questions: What am I most happy about today? What am I most excited about today? What am I most grateful for today? Ask yourself these questions each morning and any time you are thinking about something negative and it will get you to think differently. I know from your writing that the answers to these questions will often have to do with your kids. Practice this daily and I suggest doing this and writing it down just before you go into this conference. Do this and you will walk into that room and the judge will see a happy well adjusted parent who loves and cherishes his children. Be that man, that parent, that leader, that role model. You have it in you Iíve read enough of your writing to see that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Love this UnderPressure
          I live by my own code of conduct and I have been teaching professional ethics for 20 years.

          One basic principle of mine is everyone identifies themselves for what they are, good and bad. When they do you have to pay attention. If you don't pay attention you can miss goodness and risk being taken advantage of.

          I am faced with a lawyer (her third) that is one or all of inexperienced, a man hater, a bully, of questionable competence and is close to if not guilty of sharp practice.

          So I have no real option in my children's interests but to fight fire with fire. I have dealt with more than one bully in my life and always take it straight to them, concise, factual, fair, firm and if needed calm aggression.

          The claim for costs comes after the trial. But they are on notice that I will provide a detailed accounting of my valuable time spent doing what a lawyer could have done with the proper citations.

          It is not about me winning financially at all. It is about equity, defending against a vexatious and probably malicious claim. I am showing my ex and her lawyers that I will not be bullied. My conduct is always respectful and professional. Maybe their next client's family will benefit somehow.

          It makes me truly sick that thousands and thousands that I contribute to my kids is being frittered away because this lawyer has given incompetent counsel and refused to follow very clear dispute resolution terms. My kids pay that price.

          The very first letter from this lawyer said in BOLD type that they would only resolve this in court. Period.

          This is not my first rodeo (well first in family court) and they (I think) have underestimated me as their self declared adversary. One jurist as much as said this.

          I am no-ones adversary unless I or my loved ones are threatened or attacked, and I have been attacked.

          My claim for my costs is part of the overall defence/response and is a response to insane threats and intimidation that are entirely inappropriate and unprofessional.

          If I win my costs I will be putting every cent in their education fund. Tax free income potentially. If I have to pay costs so be it.


          This is not about me. Never was.

          Thank you so much for your thoughts, I truly appreciate this kind of support.

          Comment


          • #6
            Threats in family law are a regular occurrence and most likely they are hoping is they scream loud enough they will scare you off. My husbands ex was self rep and the threats she had in her documents were almost laughable.

            One piece of advice the lawyer gave us was that the other side will throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Sounds like your ex has done that. Problem is, nothing will stick.

            Go to your conference this week and see what happens. You are at least prepared for trial which makes you more prepared than most.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rockscan View Post
              Threats in family law are a regular occurrence and most likely they are hoping is they scream loud enough they will scare you off. My husbands ex was self rep and the threats she had in her documents were almost laughable.

              One piece of advice the lawyer gave us was that the other side will throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Sounds like your ex has done that. Problem is, nothing will stick.

              Go to your conference this week and see what happens. You are at least prepared for trial which makes you more prepared than most.
              Thanks rockscan.

              I am well prepared (I hope!) and am preparing my approach to this conference to try to be as concise and precise as possible. I am hoping to avoid trial not so much for me but to prevent my ex from wasting many thousands unecessarilily.

              I have three versions of minutes of settlement drafted and ready to present. I have a bullet point one pager of the issues with their position and mine. I hope the judge will see this as my bona fide commitment to resolution.

              So why don't I just give in? It is not what I teach my children.
              Is this a hill to die on? Sadly it is, but I do not wish anyone to be harmed in any way.

              My daughter and I were chatting just this morning and she said Daddy you always talk nice about Mom. My firm belief is building up the other parent in the eyes of my children is a gift to them that will serve them well. Conversely, when you are dealing with a bully you have a choice to lie down or to push back. I only have one choice and I learned that from my parents and grandparents. My kids will be able to say the same.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Abba435 View Post
                Love this UnderPressure
                I live by my own code of conduct and I have been teaching professional ethics for 20 years.

                One basic principle of mine is everyone identifies themselves for what they are, good and bad. When they do you have to pay attention. If you don't pay attention you can miss goodness and risk being taken advantage of.

                I am faced with a lawyer (her third) that is one or all of inexperienced, a man hater, a bully, of questionable competence and is close to if not guilty of sharp practice.

                So I have no real option in my children's interests but to fight fire with fire. I have dealt with more than one bully in my life and always take it straight to them, concise, factual, fair, firm and if needed calm aggression.

                The claim for costs comes after the trial. But they are on notice that I will provide a detailed accounting of my valuable time spent doing what a lawyer could have done with the proper citations.

                It is not about me winning financially at all. It is about equity, defending against a vexatious and probably malicious claim. I am showing my ex and her lawyers that I will not be bullied. My conduct is always respectful and professional. Maybe their next client's family will benefit somehow.

                It makes me truly sick that thousands and thousands that I contribute to my kids is being frittered away because this lawyer has given incompetent counsel and refused to follow very clear dispute resolution terms. My kids pay that price.

                The very first letter from this lawyer said in BOLD type that they would only resolve this in court. Period.

                This is not my first rodeo (well first in family court) and they (I think) have underestimated me as their self declared adversary. One jurist as much as said this.

                I am no-ones adversary unless I or my loved ones are threatened or attacked, and I have been attacked.

                My claim for my costs is part of the overall defence/response and is a response to insane threats and intimidation that are entirely inappropriate and unprofessional.

                If I win my costs I will be putting every cent in their education fund. Tax free income potentially. If I have to pay costs so be it.


                This is not about me. Never was.

                Thank you so much for your thoughts, I truly appreciate this kind of support.
                I feel exactly the same way right now. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire and call things out for what they are. I wish you luck!

                Comment


                • #9
                  If this was truly about the interests of the children then many lawyers would be crucified for their tactics. Disgusting.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The worst is when the other side is legal aid or self-repped. I did countless conferences and it was expensive for nothing. Judges should shut the other side down when they see they are purposefully wasting time (by not even talking about issues or how to resolve them) to bankrupt the other side. As the other side was the applicant, they went first, and went in long tangents that were nonsense. When it was our turn to talk, the judge was already frustrated. Next thing you know, itís over, you got nowhere further, and your lawyer bills you $5000.

                    If the upcoming conference does nothing, I suggest motion and trial as the other side is trying to run you out of money.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by LovingDad1234 View Post
                      The worst is when the other side is legal aid or self-repped. I did countless conferences and it was expensive for nothing. Judges should shut the other side down when they see they are purposefully wasting time (by not even talking about issues or how to resolve them) to bankrupt the other side. As the other side was the applicant, they went first, and went in long tangents that were nonsense. When it was our turn to talk, the judge was already frustrated. Next thing you know, itís over, you got nowhere further, and your lawyer bills you $5000.

                      If the upcoming conference does nothing, I suggest motion and trial as the other side is trying to run you out of money.
                      Thank you for the input. You are describing how the lawyer for my ex is working. I would almost prefer if she was self-repped as I am. But we are on this track because of refusal to follow a detailed agreement with detailed parenting plan and then refusal to follow the detailed dispute resolution terms of that agreement. Our first appearance the judge basically said well you managed to sign this agreement so go away and settle, shoo.

                      Complete refusal to make any attempt to settle, obfuscation, no progress at all.
                      Makes false allegation that go back pre-separation. Every trick in the book.

                      Trial is set. This is the last minute conference as requested by the trial management judge. I have a point by point comparison of their claims, my counter claims and the agreement itself to hopefully guide this conference.

                      I am obviously biased but I am trained in objective analysis and this is about as clear as it can get. Until I get to the courthouse, then all bets are off. My bias is actually for the kids not so much for me.

                      Any final words of advice from experience are welcome!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Was yesterday the day? If yes, how did it go?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rockscan View Post
                          Was yesterday the day? If yes, how did it go?
                          Today was the day Rockstar.
                          Excellent judge. She read the file in advance and was very well prepared. Very professional, fair, measured and listened carefully.
                          Cut to the chase for the most part.
                          We got bogged down with opposing counsel grandstanding and trying to present their entire case in 10 minutes, loads of inaccuracies, misleading statements and puffing. I wonder how that would have changed if the Applicant had not been present. Judge let them blather a bit too much for my taste but I sat quietly until a few real bombs got dropped and I stood to be heard. My response was to congratulate them for putting on their case so concisely but with as many inaccuracies as was in their pleadings. That got a smile and a raised eyebrow.
                          Judge forced some key admissions on other side submitting false calculations and not being transparent on certain facts. very adept and understood the complexity clearly although the issues are really not overly complex.
                          Other side wasted a lot of time when I wanted to focus on each issue and resolve. When we were able to focus they rited to get off track and judge did as well as possible to focus but it takes two to resolve. They really want their trial.
                          Other side refused to make any genuine attempt to settle even with strong urging from the bench.
                          Judge was a strong advocate of online co-parenting tech and that is one of my counter claims. Also strong on joint custody despite conflict and advocate for following the parenting plan in place, also in my counter claims.

                          But also pointed out this can go either way at trial and costs are mounting. Comment was made that even though i am self rep I would be entitled to claim costs. That was very interesting.
                          A few other really interesting exchanges. Other side was a bit rattled I thought.

                          My main themes were -
                          I respect the applicant as a parent,
                          I want to reach accord,
                          I want to settle all matters,
                          I do not think court is the answer and that I will not be intimidated (politely) by falsehood, puffery and innuendo.
                          But that and 50 cents won't buy you a coffee will it.

                          So unless there is a courthouse steps settlement we are going to trial.

                          I am not submitting another offer , just yet.

                          Pretty much as I had expected.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Trial is next week?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rockscan View Post
                              Trial is next week?
                              Unless lightning strikes.
                              Their calculations are so flawed and they are entrenched.
                              Even after judge somewhat tacitly concurring with my numbers they dug in.
                              There is some room for me to move and I offered it and was met with resistance and wheels spinning in 4th gear.

                              Comment

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