Skip to Content
The Law Offices of W. Douglas McKeague The Law Offices of W. Douglas McKeague
Call Us Today! 714-888-4830

Settlement versus Trial


Douglas McKeague has almost thirty years of experience as an OC family law lawyer. During that time, he has developed a reputation as a well-respected trial lawyer and skilled negotiator. Below is an outline of Douglas’ perspective on the value of reaching a fair settlement before trial work becomes necessary.

In the State of California, the dissolution of marriage proceeding has several complexities. However, there are two distinct paths: settlement and trial.

With a settlement, the two spouses and their legal representatives come to an agreement on the outstanding issues of the marriage.

This may include aspects such as:

  • Division of assets: splitting up the money, property, and other holdings to which the couple has joint rights. An OC family law lawyer should be involved in this process.
  • Spousal support: determining how much, if any, money should be paid by one party to the other following the divorce. This is to assist a former mate in maintaining the standard of living from the marriage and to help that person in making a transition to being self-supporting.
  • Child custody and support: establishing how to provide for the needs of the child or children in terms of health, safety, and welfare. Often, this includes deciding with whom the child will reside and for what period of time as well as how to permit open and frequent contact with the other parent.

Unfortunately, a settlement is not always possible. When one party places unreasonable demands upon the other, it can force a spouse into a position where he or she must go to trial.

In a trial, most of the issues above will be addressed as well. However, unlike in a settlement, the decision in a trial is made by a judicial officer listening to arguments from the OC family law lawyers.

This can present serious drawbacks:

  • A judicial officer does not have the time and the resources to scrutinize the entire history and circumstances of the marriage. As a result, the decision may be decided based on imperfect information.
  • In a “best case” scenario, one spouse may get more than he or she would have through settlement. However, that person will have spent considerable resources and energy in the trial and will have paid a significant fee to an attorney.
  • Along the way, each party may have damaged their relationships with the former spouse and their children.

That is why OC family law lawyer Douglas McKeague emphasizes reasonable expectations throughout his work with clients and the opposing attorney. From the beginning, Douglas helps clients to identify what is essential as part of a settlement and what elements may be worth negotiating. He works with clients to establish trust and acts as a calming force in response to attempts to escalate the divorce proceedings emotionally. In short, he helps clients reach settlements that let them get what they need.

Share To: