A divorce settlement conference involves a meeting between the lawyers and the judge where both parties try to settle their differences, according to Illinois law firm Gitlin & Busche. This type of conference occurs before a trial and before pre-trial case management proceedings.
Usually, one or both attorneys make a motion for a divorce settlement conference sometime after the initial divorce filing. Each party prepares a settlement conference memorandum, which is a document that outlines each party's recommendations. The facts of the case are also spelled out in this memo, such as the names, ages, occupations and children of the parties, notes Gitlin & Busche.
Settlement recommendations should be backed up by reasonable facts about the party. A judge sits down with both attorneys in his office where everyone confers about the recommendations. Based on what happens in the divorce settlement conference, a judge can then set the case for a trial, explains Gitlin & Busche.
The judge offers the court's recommendations to the attorneys at the conference, who then take the suggestions to their clients. If the clients agree, a trial can be averted. If the parties cannot agree based on the results of the divorce settlement hearing, a trial moves forward. The goal of a divorce settlement conference is to avoid going to a trial and avoid prolonging court proceedings, according to family law attorney Caroline Choi for The Huffington Post.