If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings” – Dave Barry

A lawyer on the other side calls me and says he wants to have a four way meeting. That means a meeting with both clients and both lawyers present.

I say, “Sure, what’s the agenda?”

There is a long pause.

My background is in business. Two companies don’t usually send their lawyers and representatives to a meeting and sit around and say, “So what should we talk about?”

One company prepares a request for proposals with detailed scope of work and specifications.

The other company responds with a proposal containing terms and conditions.

The first company then replies with objections.

The purpose of the meeting is to address the objections only.

So for a divorce, before the four way meeting, I say first exchange information and documents, use that to prepare a Settlement Notebook, propose a settlement in writing, and make a counteroffer. Then deal only with the areas of disagreement at the four way meeting.

And I tell my clients to write down before the meeting what they want, what they will accept, and what they will walk away from. Then put those items in order of priority. Show them to me so that you and your lawyer will act as a team at the four way meeting.

To have a four way meeting before you do these things, could result in a settlement that you are not happy with, but more likely will not result in any settlement and cost you money in legal fees.