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How to begin a judicial settlement conference

The expense and time commitment required to settle a divorce in court may not work for you and your ex-spouse. However, for those who still seek the counsel of a judge, another option is available.

In a judicial settlement conference, you and your ex-spouse select a retired judge to hear your case. Read on to learn more about this divorce process and how to get started.

Judicial settlement conference basics

Judicial settlement conferences are similar to mediation sessions, except that your mediator is a retired judge. The judge can help make decisions and offer guidance to you and your ex-spouse as you work through your divorce.

Here are the steps to begin the process:

Choose a judge

You and your ex-spouse can select a settlement judge for your case from a judges list. If possible, choose a judge who is within 100 miles from where the settlement conference will be held.

Once the two of you have made a decision you both agree with, tell the referring circuit court judge’s office of your decision. The court may choose a settlement judge if you and your ex-spouse can’t agree on a judge.

Wait for Acceptance

The referring judge’s office will verify whether the judge accepts the case.

Once the settlement judge is assigned the case and has received necessary documentation from the referring circuit court, he or she will send you the following materials:

  • Order of Referral to Dispute Resolution Services
  • Order of Referral to counsel
  • A letter explaining other useful details

Mark your calendar

The judge and counsel will configure the date, time and location of the settlement conference. The settlement conference is usually held in a courthouse.

After negotiations have been made, your attorney can help you review the final agreement before signing off on it. Each party should consult with a divorce attorney to gain legal advice throughout this process. If you have further questions concerning your divorce, contact us to discuss the details of your circumstance.

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