Farrar Gesini Dunn are proud to offer our clients a process called Settle by Sunday. The concept is simple — a couple base themselves at the same location for a full weekend along with the people they need to negotiate their divorce settlement. All you need to do is be ready to negotiate an outcome; you will be supported by your lawyer, and other professionals to get there.
"Settle by Sunday" is a bespoke service carefully curated to avoid the delay of court and other drawn out processes.
The immediacy of a solution is very attractive to many people who want to reach agreement and move on with their lives.
In addition to helping separated couples to divide their assets and agree on arrangements for your children, we can also use the Settle by Sunday approach to help you and your partner agree on the terms of a pre nup.
At the weekend, you can use Mediation or Collaborative Law to help you resolve your differences. We recommend Collaborative Law as it is a unique process that is based on everyone working together as a team to avoid Court. More on the differences between Mediation and Collaborative Law below.
Settle By Sunday lets you control the outcome and choose what experts you want to assist you. In some cases, where child custody is an issue, we can involve a child expert who can meet with your children and give you feedback and advice about their arrangements. In matters where there are companies, trusts or other complex finances, we can involve financial and tax experts to help you understand the options available, including a tax effective settlement.
Settle by Sunday is for those people who want to reach an agreement without going to Court, in a fast and effective manner with the assistance of professionals. Unfortunately, not every matter fits into this category – but many do!
One hurdle can be convincing the other party to be involved in the process. Our firm can only act for one of you, and so for the process to work, your ex needs a lawyer who is trained in Collaborative Law and open to the process. We can give your ex a list of firms who we recommend.
Mediation and Collaborative law are similar in their philosophies; they both promote the parties working together in good faith to come to an agreement that they are both comfortable with. Necessarily, a Mediation involves an independent third-party facilitating a discussion between two parties to a dispute, whereas Collaborative Law involves the two parties and their lawyers collaborating with each other to come to an agreement.
The key difference between Mediation and Collaboration is the approach of the parties and their lawyers. A Mediation is often a more traditional style of adversarial negotiation – you seek your own independent advice, and then negotiate for what you want. You decide what information you share and make offers based on achieving your goals or your “best” result. If you don’t reach agreement you might then consider commencing proceedings. In Collaboration, the parties and lawyers work together as a team to gather information, share legal advice and reach an agreement that works for both parties.
During a mediation, the Mediator is present to act as a facilitator of a discussion between the parties. They provide you with information that is relevant to the area of law that is being mediated, however they do not provide legal advice.
On the other hand, in Collaborative Law, the parties both have legal representation present who provide you with legal advice throughout the process which is given in front of the group. It essentially means everyone is putting “all their cards on the table” and not being strategic in the approach or in the way they provide information.
One thing to keep in mind with Collaborative Law is that if the process breaks down and you decide to initiate proceedings, you will need to retain a different solicitor. When solicitors take up a Collaborative Law case, they are agreeing to exclude themselves from any litigation that may arise from a failure to reach an agreement during the Collaborative Law process. This is an advantage for you because it invests the solicitor in the process and incentivises them to work hard in coming to an agreement.
Settle by Sunday is our robust and intensive settlement process that occurs over a weekend with the goal being to, quite literally, settle your matter by Sunday so that you can start the next week with a settlement. It is designed to avoid a drawn out and expensive Court process in providing an almost immediate solution for the parties.
Our preferred model for Settle by Sunday is using the Collaborative Law Process. In some cases, we can use a Mediation model if for some reason Collaborative Law is not suitable.
Settle by Sunday is not for everyone. Although the aim is to reach agreement over a weekend, a lot of preparation is required before the weekend to ensure everyone is in the best position possible to reach an agreement. Settle By Sunday requires that both parties are committed to an outcome and willing to put in the work, while also being respectful and working as part of a team.
Settle by Sunday conferences can take place anywhere you like, but usually at a neutral place for both of the parties involved. Ideally, both parties will decide on a ‘retreat style’ conference that allows the both of them to feel relaxed throughout the process. Given the current COVID19 environment, we also have the option of conducting conferences by video. The choice will depend on what suits everyone in the team.
Going to Court should be viewed as a last resort. Litigation through the initiation of proceedings with the Court is a costly process that can take a number of years. From the date you initiate proceedings, it can be 1-2 years before the Court is able to list you for a final hearing. After the Final Hearing, there may be a further delay before you receive a decision from the Judge, and once you receive that decision, there is a risk of an appeal. This process is also expensive and is often acrimonious which causes a great deal of stress for all parties involved, including the children of the relationship.