When you litigate a case, you never know for certain what that judge is going to decide on an issue. When you settle a case, you have certainty, you have peace of mind, and you have some control over the concessions that you make. You don’t always have that in litigation. The judge will say, “This is what’s going to happen. These are my orders.” In that scenario, you don’t necessarily get everything that you want or that you like.
However, not all cases can settle. An example would be a move-away or a relocation case where you have one party who wants or needs to move across the state or the country and take the minor child or children. These are very difficult cases to settle. Sometimes a party doesn’t cooperate with the settlement process; those cases also need to see a judicial officer to help with the ultimate resolution. Generally, I find clients are happier when they’ve settled their case, made their own concessions, as opposed to having someone else who knows very little about their life make the ultimate decision. Cases are different, but when it’s possible to settle, most clients are better off afterwards.
Partner at McGaughey & Spirito, California family lawyer Erin McGaughey handles complex divorce cases that involve child custody issues, financial issues, and business interests.