In this article, you can discover:
- What is a settlement agreement?
- Why you might want to accept a settlement before trial.
What Is A Settlement Agreement In Maryland?
A settlement agreement is a contract between two parties that settles a case without going to trial. This can be useful in a divorce or custody case where couples can’t agree on terms. By having a settlement agreement, both parties can come to an understanding outside of court.
Once you file for divorce or custody in court, the litigation process begins. This process culminates in a trial, during which a judge makes decisions about asset division, child custody, support, alimony, etc.
You can reach a settlement agreement with your spouse before trial; this agreement is a legally binding contract that outlines your rights and obligations and will become your court order in place of having a judge make these decisions.
What Are The Benefits Of Accepting A Settlement Agreement Before Litigation?
The main benefit of settling a case is that it avoids the risk and the cost of trial. The issues in divorce and custody cases are very personal and emotional. Each party usually feels confident that they are right about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and whether it is reasonable. It can be difficult to see the other party’s position objectively, or see it the way that a judge would see it.
If you go to trial, you risk a judge making a decision that you are unhappy with or that you believe to be unfair. As an attorney for divorce cases, I work with my clients to help them understand their legal position at trial, what admissible evidence they have, and what testimony they would give to support their position. I also help them think about what evidence and testimony the other side might have to support their case and assist my clients in making the best decision they can for themselves. I can provide my clients with a view of how a judge might see the facts of their case, and what particular facts are most relevant under the law. What parties feel is important about their family case is not always what the law or a judge finds important.
It is vital for parties to understand what level of risk they have in going to trial because often times reaching an agreement or settlement with the other party is going to be a better option than taking a chance on trial. The judge will typically only have between two and five hours to try and understand all the facts of your case. Where children, property, and other marital issues are involved, that is very little time to understand something, especially when the parties may be giving contradictory information.
The second biggest benefit of a settlement or separation agreement is that you, as parents, or spouses have the flexibility to create an agreement that works for your specific circumstances. While it may involve compromising on certain issues, if parties can work with their attorneys or mediator to reach an agreement it gives them the power to include provisions in that agreement that address their particular family or situation. For example, If parties know that they may have a hard time communicating about decisions for a minor child, they can agree to attend mediation or to conduct their discussions in a particular way. A judge making a decision at trial would not include that in an order. Another example is if parties have a marital home, they can make agreements about how they will deal with it. The parties may agree that one of them will try to refinance the home, and if they are unable to then they can agree to list it for sale under particular conditions. The parties can create contingency plans in their agreement. If a judge were to make a decision, it would not include options and details to that extent and may cause issues for the parties later on.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Settlement or Separation Agreements, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it easier.
For more information on Settlement or Separation
Agreements in Maryland, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (443) 300-2335 today.