How a proposal can help you
in Family Law
This is where one party creates a proposal for review by the other party. If the proposal is acceptable to both parties, then a separation agreement/MOS is created. It is signed by both parties, and the parties get on with their lives.
Although this may sound wonderful at first thought, caution is strongly advised in proceeding this way. You may wonder, when you make a proposal, should you put your best foot forward? Or, should you offer something you hope the other party will or will not accept, and then wonder what the counter-proposal will be? It can become a game - a very expensive, divisive game which can have potentially disastrous results.
One of the biggest risks with this approach is that it is not very often that proposals are accepted by the other party. Although you may believe you are making a proposal that is reasonable to your spouse, your spouse may react with indignation and feel that "this is a terrible proposal, my spouse is unreasonable" or "I cannot negotiate with my spouse so I want to go to court".
Over the years, more and more clients have expressed an interest in settling the matter out of court when possible, often citing horror stories they have heard and that only lawyers benefit from litigation as the reasons. If this is one of your concern, it may be of some relief to know that in the vast majority of cases, there may not be any need to go to court. The key is to avoid a situation where you provide a proposal that makes the other party feel like they have to go to court.
Proposals can also be risky because they can make the other party "dig in their heels" and initiate litigation in hopes of attaining a better result. This type of litigation could take years and cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, especially where they go to trial. Often, even where these files settle before trial, the legal fees up to that point are exorbitant and often neither party is happy with the result.
So, if making a proposal is not an option for you, and you do not want to go to court either, then what do you do? The answer is to have a meeting between both parties and their lawyers. Good things can happen when people sit down together in a safe environment and discuss the issues in a civilized and dignified manner. Whoever goes to the meeting has to listen - really listen.