What is a 4-Way Settlement Conference?

Divorcing couples and their respective attorneys often agree to meet in one of their lawyers’ offices to discuss the possibility of an out-of-court settlement. This kind of meeting is known as a “four-way conference.”

In traditional or adversarial cases (as opposed to cooperative divorce law or collaborative law cases), four-way settlement meetings are optional. The attorneys agree to hold such meetings only if they believe the parties are capable of discussing the issues constructively.

The first four-way usually takes place in the lawyer’s office that is most convenient or suitable for all four parties. A series of meetings may take place, alternating between both lawyer’s offices.

Four-ways can make or break a divorce. Be prepared to walk on eggs, because your spouse is sure to get your goat at some point in the discussions.

Never bite the hand that negotiates with you. You may be tempted to express your anger, but don’t do it. There is no down side to a four-way if you keep your cool and refrain from blowing up any settlement bridges.

Maintain a friendly approach in the four-way and always remember, when you argue with your spouse, they will say no.

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