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I am representing myself and I have an Intensive Settlement Conference scheduled for December 3, 2013. How do I prepare?

Livingston, NJ |

I filed for divorce in July 2012. My former attorney withdrew in April 2013. My husband still has an attorney. My attorney represented me for my Pendente Lite Hearing, and Early Settlement Panel. My husband and I have already submitted responses to Interrogatories. In Aug. 2013 we had Economic Mediation. We could not come to an agreement. On Oct. 2, 2013 we had a second case management conference in which the judge scheduled the Intensive Settlement Conference and a Trial date on Jan. 9, 2014. The judge said the ISC will be before an attorney who will donate his services. Could you please tell me what to expect and how to prepare and what I should bring with me. Thank you very much.

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Attorney answers 3


Although some individuals get divorced without lawyers, it's always wise to have legal representation helping you pursue your best interests -- especially if your spouse is retaining counsel. Although this following info does not qualify for NJ, it is designed for NH residents who are facing the same question. It is recommended that you connect with a local attorney about the specifics of this case. The benefit in the long run may be significant.


You prepare by following your lawyer's advice


An Intensive Settlement Conference is another opportunity to try to settle your case before trial. Since you are self-represented, you should be very familiar with all of your positions and facts, and be able to clearly explain them.The Court-appointed attorney will try to mediate, assist the two of you in negotiations and, hopefully, give you a clear sense of how they think the Judge will rule if the matter is tried. Be prepared and organized with your documents and take seriously the Court appointed attorney's advice regarding the reasonableness of your positions. Trial is time-consuming and very expensive, both financially and emotionally, so both sides should make whatever compromises they can live with in order to end litigation.