What You Need to Know About Settlement Conferences in Maryland

Thank you for joining me. My name is LaSheena Williams and I am a Maryland family law attorney. My firm helps our clients take control of out-of-control domestic situations. Today, we will be discussing what happens at a settlement conference in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

What Is A Settlement Conference in Prince George’s County, Maryland?

In Maryland, a settlement conference is a pre-trial conference with the judge or retired judge that’s appointed to help you address the issues involving your divorce or custody dispute and help you to try to see if any or all of those issues can be resolved before your merits hearing. 

What Is The Purpose of A Prince George’s County Settlement Conference? 

The purpose of a settlement conference is to resolve as many of your issues as possible before your merits hearing. If the court can resolve your concerns, they can limit or decrease how many days you need for your merits hearing. This is a more economical use of the court’s time and it’s also significantly more efficient. If you and your opposing party can resolve the issues, you can save a significant amount of money in not preparing for litigation. In Prince George’s County, settlement conferences tend to have a certain protocol. Once you arrive, you and your attorney are put in a separate room whether it’s a breakout room for a virtual settlement conference or an actual room in the building for an in-person conference. In these rooms you can caucus with your attorney, speak with your attorney about certain issues, your attorney will then speak with the judge and the opposing party to address the concerns that everyone has. Sometimes the judge will ask what the standing issues are, they will also ask if there’s been any updates and they may require updates from you or the opposing party if your attorney isn’t updated on certain information. Your attorney will then bounce between meeting with the judge and meeting with you to try to see if you can reach a resolution on some or all of your concerns. 

Bring A Detailed Plan of Action To Your Settlement Conference

In order to effectively have a settlement conference, it’s important to understand what you want and understand what it’s likely that the opposing party wants and it’s good to have a good plan of action for what you want to do. If you have children, you want to develop a parenting plan. If you have property, you want to understand and know what you want to do about dividing those assets up. The more detailed your plan is, the more likely you are to get what you’re actually requesting from the court.

Know That You May Be Able to Resolve Some or All of Your Concerns At Your Settlement Conference

 It’s very important that you understand that you can resolve key issues from your case. You can resolve some of those issues or all of those issues and completely forego actually having a trial. If you keep that in mind you can save a significant amount of costs and that you won’t have to prepare for a trial date because your hearing is happening that day in front of that judge and you’re getting exactly what you’ve agreed to get.

If you have any questions about settlement conferences in Prince George’s County or any other domestic related issues please feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel for future updates please also feel free to give me a call at (301) 778-9950 to speak with an attorney today.