Selection of a Settlement Facilitator

A good settlement facilitator is essential for a successful divorce and/or family law settlement.  The parties must agree on the settlement facilitator.  Typically, each party will suggest 2 or 3 and then the parties will mutually agree upon one of the selections.  If the parties cannot agree, the Court will either select one from the names submitted by the parties, or choose one of its own.  As with all issues in a divorce, it is far better for the parties to maintain control over this decision through mutual agreement to the facilitator.

Selection of the facilitator is critical.  The settlement facilitator should have extensive experience in divorce and family law.  The facilitator should be knowledgeable in each and every area to be addressed in the Marital Settlement Agreement.  A good facilitator will guide the parties and will often resolve what at first appear to be irreconcilable differences.   A good facilitator will explain to each party the law on each issue and the probable outcome at trial if the judge must decide.   In fact, a good facilitator will often correct misunderstandings, misinterpretations, or outright misstatements of the law by the parties’ own attorneys.

In short, the settlement facilitator acts as a neutral third party expert on the dissolution of the marriage.  The neutrality and expertise of the facilitator is the key to a successful settlement facilitation.  In fact, the facilitator must often equally reign in the lawyers as the parties.  A good one can bring both the parties and their lawyers to an agreement that is fair and acceptable to each of the parties.  And this is a far better outcome than either party can expect at trial.

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