7. Settlement of Efforts

As an attorney in the matrimonial field, your attorney’s first efforts are always directed to determine if a possibility of reconciliation exists. Only when you are satisfied that no such possibility exists, will your attorney attempt to move forward. Only clients who are certain that their marital relationship should be terminated should proceed in a divorce action. Divorce cases are devastating to the family, emotionally draining, and expensive. A divorce should be obtained only as a matter of last resort. When you are certain that no possibility of reconciliation exists, then and only then should you move forward. The disputes that you have with your spouse will either be concluded by a written agreement or by the Court making the decisions for you and your spouse regarding child custody, parenting time with children, child support, alimony, property and debt division, tax matters, attorney fees and the like. Under Kansas law, marital differences can be resolved by written settlement agreements. In order for an agreement to be truly valid, it must be signed by both parties, each of whom should be represented by separate counsel, entered into after full financial disclosure, freely and voluntarily without duress, coercion and overreaching, and approved by written Order of the Court after due hearing. In order to have a settlement, there must be an open exchange of financial information so that both parties are sufficiently aware of all income, debts, and assets involved in the case. It is usually very helpful to have a certified public accountant assist in that financial disclosure, and with the analysis of the information provided and of the offers and counter-offers that are typically made. There are non-litigation means available to resolve matrimonial disputes. Trials can be very expensive, time-consuming, and extremely stressful to the parties involved. Mediation and Arbitration are two common alternatives to litigation in resolving these types of disputes. As your case unfolds, your attorney will evaluate the appropriateness of proposing an alternative means for addressing these issues. Settlement is preferred over litigated results as a settlement is generally less expensive to achieve from a fee and cost standpoint, and also provides certainty. As a Judge once said, you and your spouse can resolve your differences with surgical precision — but a Judge will use a meat axe.