Albuquerque Family Law – The four-way meeting.
A four-way meeting or a meet and confer session doesn’t have to be a showdown. Some states require that spouses and their attorney’s must meet in-person prior to any hearings. Other states require a four-way meeting before certain deliberations. But even if it’s not mandated by a state or judge these meetings can be invaluable to resolving family law issues.
It is normal to be nervous about a four-way meeting. No divorcing couple wants to sit in a conference room across the table from each other and talk about their personal situation. For spouses who have been victims of harassment, intimidation, threats, or other types of domestic violence, being in the same room with the other party can be extremely scary.
How to best utilize a four-way meeting
Be concise. Only say or do things which will be helpful for everybody to move forward. Being concise and effective will allow you to move toward your end goal, staying consistent with your interests and principles. It is easy to blame, accuse and be critical but it can cause more damage than good. You don’t want to undo a lot of hard work with a few bitter words. Keep in mind the big picture and what you want out of this divorce. In other words, unless what you have to say helps you arrive at your goals, keep quiet.
Speak with your lawyer beforehand. Most lawyers find four-way meetings necessary but will always want to meet privately with you first. Make sure you tell your lawyer your concerns so that your lawyer has time to address these. A lawyer will want to prepare an agenda to use the meeting’s time effectively. And above all else your lawyer will want to know your expectations –
• Do you want to do the talking or have the lawyer speak on your behalf?
• Do you want your lawyer to take the lead or sit back and listen?
• Ask your lawyer if you can come up with a code word to let them know you need a break or change o subject.
Make sure you listen. No one wants to be a part of a four-way meeting where everyone is yelling or arguing non-stop. The four-way meeting is designed to help both parties resolve issues without the potential for miscommunications which happens so often over texting or emails. Both parties should have the chance to talk, pay attention and listen.
Be respectful to each other. Remember, divorce can be a very difficult transition for you as well as your partner. Dealing with emotions both physically and mentally, child custody, assets and the financial responsibilities is hard on everyone. Both of you are going through numerous changes in your lives. It’s rare both of you will be in the same emotional place at the same time. It’s even rarer for both of you to process information at the same time and the same way. Because of this it’s important for both of you to have awareness and compassion. You know your spouse, if he or she has a history of procrastination that is not going to change now. Or if your spouse doesn’t have a strong background in accounting don’t except them to all of a sudden grasp the new budget that has just been laid out. Trying to change the other person didn’t work before and it would be nothing short of counterproductive to try and change them now.
Be creative. Try to find a solution that can be a win-win for both of you. If you set your mind to it you can come up with options and choices that may solve both of your problems. Just because there is a potential for conflict doesn’t mean you should avoid important issues. Being creative can lead to productive results. This could be your chance to be the bigger person and come up with an opportunity and a great solution. Confer with your lawyer for ideas on how other couples in your situation have handled these issues. Listen to both attorneys!
Contact A Compassionate Family Lawyer Today
Do you have questions regarding your divorce or other family matters? Do not hesitate to contact the office online or by calling 505-247-3335 or 505-247-3335.