“My wife’s attorney said we ought to have a four way,” Tim says to his lawyer, Frank, outside the courtroom after the Scheduling Hearing. “What’s a four way?”
Frank, a tall lanky man in gray, pulls his suit collar up. “It’s getting colder. A four way is a settlement meeting with both parties and their lawyers present,” responds Frank taking long strides. “C’mon, lets go grab a coffee and we can talk about it.”
Warming both hands holding on the hot styrofoam cup, Franks looks over his glasses and says, “Four ways are good for a lot of things. We can get information, educate the other side, answer questions, clear up misunderstandings and figure out what we can agree on and what we can’t. You can accomplish more with everybody in room instead of you telling me, me writing her lawyer, her lawyer writing her and she responding to her lawyer and so forth.”
“What’s the downside?” Tim says.
“Well,” Frank says, “I’ve seen a lot of these four ways ramble on and go nowhere until one spouse pushes the other’s buttons and someone gets up and walks out. So I always insist on a written agenda before I schedule one of these and usually an offer and a counteroffer. I also like to prepare a Settlement Notebook to keep everyone focused on the issues. I’ll call your wife’s attorney and see if I can set it up.”
The two men watch the leaves fall outside as they drink their coffees and turn their conversation to happier subjects like which party will win the election and which team will win the football game.