Step Four – Formulate a Reasonable Settlement Position
Georgia domestic law is complex. Mr. Hippe or your attorney will advise you on the law and the application of the law to your specific situation. Assuming you have all the facts from step three, or hopefully a formal, written pre-filing plan in place to obtain this information, you and your attorney should develop a reasonable settlement position.
It takes an experience domestic trial lawyer (someone who actually tries cases and knows the judge) to be able to advise you. You have to look realistically at the facts and discuss what a likely trial results will be – and the expense of getting there – to set your settlement parameters.
After consultation with Mr. Hippe, you will know, for example, the approximate amount of child support that you should expect to pay or receive, the approximate amount of alimony you should expect to pay or receive, if any, and the manner in which your marital property will likely be divided by a judge or jury at trial. If custody is going to be an issue, then Mr. Hippe or a good domestic lawyer can tell you what a judge will likely do at a temporary or final hearing.
Mr. Hippe will also educate you on different agreement options. You can negotiate from either the position that you want a divorce or a position that you want a trial separation and some legal structure in the event there is no reconciliation. You need to understand all your options and be confident in your settlement position. Mr. Hippe encourages all his clients to review the ”Georgia Domestic Law Basics” section of this website, including all the applicable case law references, so you are conversant on the law. You also need to understand arbitration and its advantages.
Also, it is equally critical to educate yourself in non legal areas. You should learn how to speak kindly to your spouse (even when you are angry) and how to keep counterproductive, negative emotion away from the children. You will further need to learn how to parent from two households and help your children with the difficult transition. The professionals you have retained in Step Two will help with this.