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Negotiating Strategies for Settlements in Family Law Cases

(488 reviews)

Produced on February 27, 2020

$ 79 Alternative Dispute Resolution, Family & Matrimonial, and Litigation In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 6m
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

The majority of family cases are resolved through a negotiated settlement. This includes the terms of a divorce, child custody, valuation of property, and post-judgment matters that can proceed long after the divorce has been finalized. Consequently, the skilled attorney practicing in this area must possess strong negotiating techniques, which are invaluable for ensuring that a client obtains a favorable outcome. Unlike negotiations in other practice areas, matrimonial cases involve unique difficulties such as high emotions or frequent contact between the parties because of a shared home or parenting time schedule. If the parents wish to negotiate child custody issues, parenting plans, and other family-related issues, the negotiation is often highly charged and the negotiations can be dynamic. To tackle these difficulties, attorneys must have an understanding of their client’s interests as well as the various methods they can employ to satisfy those interests. 

This program, presented by Carl J. Soranno, Kelley Rutkowski, and Sean Alden Smith of Brach Eichler, LLC, addresses various methods to prepare the case and the client for negotiation, tools for an effective negotiation, strategies to address and navigate around impasse and conflict, with practical examples from the viewpoint of both the mediator and the attorney representing a client. The course will explore and evaluate basic negotiation skills and techniques that form the backbone of conflict resolution. It will also address working with mediators, retired judges, and arbitrators, as the negotiations may be different depending on the forum and the person overseeing the dispute resolution process. 

Learning Objectives:

I.      Distinguish between family law negotiations compared to other litigation

II.    Prepare yourself and your client for the negotiation

III.   Create the context for a successful negotiation

IV.   Strategize effectively during negotiations

V.    Apply different negotiation strategies to various scenarios

VI.  Handle an impasse or if negotiations fail initially

VII.  Employ advanced and modern negotiation techniques

Credit Information

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Carl J. Soranno

Brach Eichler LLC

For over 20 years, Carl Soranno has focused his legal practice on counseling and representing a wide range of clients with complex litigation matters. Carl has litigated nearly a thousand large and small actions, including disputes related to commercial transactions, contracts-debtor/creditor, commercial lending/workouts, foreclosure, bankruptcy, trademark infringement, consumer fraud, employment, shareholder claims, restrictive covenant claims and tort-related actions. He also has a wealth of family law experience gained throughout his career.

Carl is the Chair of the firm's Family Law practice. He represents high-net-worth individuals in contested and uncontested divorce actions, which include issues related to complex property division, valuation of closely held businesses and executive compensation packages, alimony support, and tax-related matters. His practice includes the successful litigation or dispute resolution of cases concerning custody, parenting time, relocation, and domestic violence cases. Whether the matter is large or small, Carl brings substantial experience to his clients' matrimonial matters.

Carl's skill set also includes the representation of physicians in connection with their matrimonial matters.  As a result of Brach Eichler's leadership position within the health care industry, Mr. Soranno has had the opportunity to represent a number of physicians involved in matrimonial disputes and divorce.  These matters are unique; wherein they present complex or difficult issues of privacy, celebrity status, licensing, limitation on public disclosure and an impact a divorce may have on a physician's medical practice, surgical center interests, and/or the valuation and distribution of those interests.  Mr. Soranno can also advise clients in connection with protecting those business interests through careful planning prior to the marriage in the event of a divorce later.

Carl is also an effective negotiator, with experience in all forums of alternative dispute resolution including actions before the National Association of Securities Dealers, American Arbitration Association, and other associations, including the collaborative divorce process. In addition to handling trial and appellate-level cases on both the state and federal level, Carl has resolved numerous disputes through arbitration, mediation, early settlement and blue-ribbon panels, and has negotiated many settlement agreements, marital separation agreements, prenuptial, post-nuptial agreements and all matters of agreements involving commercial and business-related issues, including licensing agreements. As part of his family practice, Carl advises clients regarding pension and retirement plans, stock options and grants, trusts, limited partnerships, closely held corporations, valuation of business, and professional licenses.

Kelley M. Rutkowski

Brach Eichler LLC

Kelley is an Associate of the Family Law and Litigation Practice Groups.  Prior to joining Brach Eichler, Kelley served as Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Peter J. Tober, J.S.C. in the New Jersey Superior Court, Family Division, from March 2014 to August 2015.

Sean Alden Smith

Brach Eichler LLC

For more than 15 years, Sean has focused his practice on representing both corporations and individuals in their business and commercial litigations, personal matters, and complex high-net-worth matrimonial matters. A seasoned litigator, Sean has honed his extensive litigation skills to effectively represent clients in all aspects of their lives by custom-tailoring solutions to their complicated, and often sensitive, problems. Sean prides himself on the long-term relationships that he has developed and maintained with these clients.

As a result of Brach Eichler’s significant presence in the healthcare industry and business world, Sean often represents physicians and other closely held business owners (or their family members) in their business/regulatory disputes and family matters. Sean focuses his practice on healthcare regulatory and statutory disputes; multifamily property matters; and family services including estate and tax planning, prenuptial agreements, matrimonial/divorce matters, child custody/protection issues, grandparent visitation rights, kinship guardianship, and domestic violence.

Sean’s work has led him to be recognized within the legal community as a leader. In 2013, he was recognized for his development as a skilled litigator through his selection by The New Jersey Law Journal as a “New Leader of the Bar.” By 2015, he was recognized as a leader with the family bar when he was asked to co-chair the Essex County Bar Association Family Law Executive Committee, a position he still holds today. Sean often sits as an early settlement and blue ribbon panelist to assist the Court, attorneys, and litigants in the resolution of complex family law matters in New Jersey.

Prior to joining Brach Eichler, Sean served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sybil R. Moses, A.J.S.C. (ret.), New Jersey Superior Court.

Notable Matters

  • R. v. J.M., 2018 WL 2998751 (App.Div. 2018)
  • King v. Hoboken Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board, 2016 WL 6502631 (App.Div. 2016)
  • DeNardo v. City of Hoboken, 2015 WL 9947693 (App.Div. 2016)
  • Timber Glen Phase III, LLC v. Twp. of Hamilton, 441 N.J. Super. 514 (App.Div. 2015)
  • Tumpson v. Farina, 431 N.J.Super. 164, aff’d in part rev’d in part, 218 N.J. 450 (2014)
  • Green v. Morgan Properties, 215 NJ 431 (2013)
  • In re Contest of November 6, 2012 Election Results for City of Hoboken, Public Question No. 2, 2013 WL 4821095 (2013)
  • Burns v. Hoboken Rent Leveling and Stabilization Board, 439 N.J.Super. 435 (App.Div. 2013)
  • Mayer v. Mayer, 2013 WL 275961 (App.Div. 2013)
  • Selective Ins. Co. of America v. Hudson East Pain Management Osteopathic Medicine and Physical Therapy, 416 N.J.Super. 215 (App.Div.); aff’d 210 N.J. 597 (2012)
  • Gina Marie v. City of Hoboken, 2011 WL 4771935 (App.Div. 2011); Ryan v. Gina Maria, LLC,420 N.J.Super. 215 (App.Div. 2011)
  • Bloomfield 206 Corp. v. City of Hoboken, 2011 WL 9820 (App.Div. 2010);
  • Endo Surgi Center, P.C. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 2010 WL 4067156 (App.Div. 2010)
  • Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., P.C. v. Garden State Surgical Center, L.L.C.,413 N.J.Super. 513 (App.Div. 2010)
  • Allstate Ins. Co. v. Saddlebrook Surgicenter, 2008 WL 508350 (App.Div. 2008)
  • Hodges v. Sasil Corporation, 189 N.J. 210 (2007)
  • Salem Management Co. v. Twp. of Lopatcong, 387 N.J.Super. 573 (App.Div. 2006), cert. denied 188 N.J. 579 (2006)
  • Endo SurgiCenter P.C. v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 391 N.J.Super. 588 (App.Div. 2007)
  • Moran v. QualCare, Inc., 2007 WL 470646 (App.Div. 2007)

In private sector matters, Sean’s recent successes include:

  • Successful resolution of hundreds of family law disputes involving issues of spousal support, custody, and equitable distribution of personal property and business interests
  • Successful resolution of several class action claims in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, against several multifamily property owners brought by current and former tenants alleging consumer fraud, breach of contract, and entitlement to punitive damages
  • Obtained injunctive relief on behalf of several medical providers against a large managed care company
  • Successful prosecution of a claim against a large insurance carrier for monies owed to an ambulatory surgical center. The decision ultimately was reached after a successful appeal in which the trial court was reversed and judgment was entered in favor of the center
  • Successful appellate challenge to an insurance carrier’s attempts at obtaining information from medical providers. Resulted in a multi-million-dollar settlement of claims asserted by several medical providers against a large insurance carrier
  • A favorable settlement wherein a testamentary trust was dissolved and the corpus distributed to the income beneficiary and the remaining beneficiaries, despite clear intent by the testator that the trust remain in place throughout the life of the income beneficiary
  • On behalf of an Estate, successful prosecution establishing that an unsigned document was a writing intended to be the last will and testament of a decedent

Professional Activities

  • Co-Chair, 2015 – Present, Essex County Bar Association Family Law Executive Committee
  • Early Settlement Panelist – Essex and Union Counties
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Barry Croland Family Law Inn of Court, Member
  • Member, New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Member, New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Westfield Lacrosse Club
  • Member, Westfield Soccer Association
  • Pro Bono Counsel to Domestic Violence Victims, Partners for Women and Justice
  • YMCA Swimming – Level II Official


icon LECTURES, December 21, 2017
Ethics Questions for Lawyers


Anna G.

I enjoyed the panel format - liked having different opinions from the various practitioners, but it helped that they all practiced together, so it was collaborative. Practical feedback was very helpful, very detailed materials.

Paul I.

Excellent slides.

Gal G.

Great class.

Gerard S.

Felt like this focused more on pre trial considerations, managing client expectations and possible creative solutions as opposed to nuts and bolts negotiation strategy, but it was informative and useful and well worth while.

Malvina M.

Great panel!

Allison K.

Enjoyed the three person format

Gwen I.

Very good presentation--insightful & useful practice tips conveyed by knowledgeable counsel. Thank you.

Laura M.

Very practical tips - great program

Tiphani M.

Very informative and interesting.

Michael L.

Very engaging and knowledgeable speakers on a very well presented presentation

James D.

Found three perspectives helpful.

Julie A. B.

Thoughtful exploration and evaluation of basic negotiation skills and techniques that form the backbone of conflict resolution.

Lynne T.


Kathleen C.

I rated 4 thinking that was the highest - was a great program.

Todd C.

Very good panel and discussion of issues relevant to family law.

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