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Bouldin Law Firm
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Negotiate Settlement or Trial?

I am often asked whether it is better to negotiate a settlement or proceed to a trial.  Each case presents itself with different factors to be considered when making that decision.  I will often try to provide my client with a risk neutral evaluation of their chances at trial and what issues are likely to be determined.  I will also provide a best case/worst case scenario which can aid in the evaluation.  Those best/worst cases may provide additional insight if the client is either a "risk taker" or "risk averse."  I generally try to counsel clients to settle if an acceptable resolution is on the table.  I also counsel clients to not fear court. After considering a risk neutral approach, it is certainly worth mentioned that additional considerations should, and generally do include the additional expense of proceeding to trial including; legal fees, court fees, GAL or other professional fees, expert witness fees and expenses.  What is often overlooked, or at least undervalued, is the time drain and emotional damage done to yourself, your spouse and your children if the case proceed to protracted litigation and/or contested trial. It is generally accepted among those that regularly practice family law that contested litigation is a poor way to determine child custody and best interest of the children.  Collaborative Law is one alternative that generally provides litigants with a much more pleasant result.  A court will generally see only the best and worse of each party, leaving out the 90% middle where we all reside on a daily basis.  How you may have behaved one night in 2010 is of little relevance if you are a great parent to your children 99% of the time. If you are deciding whether to take a case to trial or settle, ask yourself and your attorney to do an evaluation.  Consider the best case, worst case and most likely.  Decide what is important to your resolution and what is secondary.  Do not choose to fight over the end tables and place your child's custody in jeopardy.  If you have questions or need a consultation, contact Mike at Bouldin Law Firm at [email protected] or call 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE).

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