Where to meet, not to eat.
September 19, 2012 8:42 PM   Subscribe

You need to meet with your soon-to-be ex-husband to go over some financial issues. You've both agreed to do it without your lawyers just to get some stuff resolved without the complication of their "input". Where? Your house feels uncomfortable as a site. No way are you going to his new place. A restaurant? No. We don't want to have dinner together, just talk quietly and calmly and maybe go over some documents. The library? Feels weird. Suggestions?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (41 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Coffee shop?
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:44 PM on September 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

Starbucks (or any other coffee shop) or Barnes and Noble (maybe even the cafe; or any other bookstore). Library is fine too. Most public libraries have areas where you can talk or meet.
posted by lesli212 at 8:45 PM on September 19, 2012

Bigger coffee shop or diner, like a Denny's, where you can be sure to get a table and a touch more privacy than a Starbucks.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:48 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've done this kinds of thing in a coffee shop before. It works fine - if you order coffee, you generally prepay, so once you're done, you can just walk off.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:48 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

A park? More privacy than a restaurant/coffee shop and not as intimate-seeming as other options.
posted by sallybrown at 8:49 PM on September 19, 2012

Coffee shop.

Restaurant in the in-between meals time (2-4).

If you're concerned about someone overheating, an in a cafe, park.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:50 PM on September 19, 2012

Had to do this before. Coffee shop, parks, and local quick service places where one of us got a meal before the other showed up all worked just fine.
posted by skittlekicks at 8:50 PM on September 19, 2012

Coffee or park.
posted by heyjude at 8:51 PM on September 19, 2012

Had to do something similar in preparation for filing my final divorce papers. We met at a cafe that was busy enough that it wasn't so quiet that anyone could eavesdrop, but not too busy that we felt pressure to give up the table quickly.
posted by scody at 9:01 PM on September 19, 2012

If you want someplace private and more business-y and don't mind dropping a little coin, a lot of office buildings will have meeting rooms you can rent for a few hours. Look for ones that specialize in virtual offices and that kind of thing. Just googling "rent meeting room" and my city brought up quite a few.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:05 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Rent an office for an hour?
posted by Michele in California at 9:06 PM on September 19, 2012

Some coworking spaces have conference rooms that you can rent. this directory might help you find one.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:11 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Your lawyers may let you use their conference room.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:13 PM on September 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

Where I live the public libraries have multi-person study rooms that can be booked for free. That would be the option I would go for.
posted by Pranksome Quaine at 9:18 PM on September 19, 2012 [12 favorites]

Some churches have conference rooms that they offer for community use.
posted by XMLicious at 9:35 PM on September 19, 2012

You've both agreed to do it without your lawyers just to get some stuff resolved without the complication of their "input".

Ah ha ha ha yeah. This is when you need your lawyer most. Meet at their office or nowhere.
posted by nicwolff at 9:42 PM on September 19, 2012 [24 favorites]

If I were you, I'd consider the no-lawyers part immediately. You're about to get robbed.
posted by mhoye at 9:47 PM on September 19, 2012 [12 favorites]

Reconsider, rather. For real, this is important.
posted by mhoye at 9:48 PM on September 19, 2012

If you want it to be in a public place but without the option of dinner or coffee you could go to the local courthouse or Registry of Deeds (if you are in a sizeable city.) I was doing research at the Registry of Deeds last week and there were tons of suits walking around doing businessy stuff, and also many meeting areas where you could talk about private matters without anyone snooping and listening in over their breakfast.
posted by Sal and Richard at 10:13 PM on September 19, 2012

McDonalds on an off hour. No one will bug you.
posted by wandering_not_lost at 10:13 PM on September 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Lawyer up. Seriously, at least get a mediator. Do something besides agreeing to go with this without any legal advice.
posted by lexicakes at 10:17 PM on September 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've been here before and signed away something valuable in a similar situation, just because I wanted the meeting to be over and done with. I know it feels like overkill to have a lawyer/mediator present, but when it comes to financial stuff (and making sure everything's fair and you're ok in the future), it's good to have that support.
posted by mochapickle at 10:49 PM on September 19, 2012 [11 favorites]

Most motels will rent rooms during the day at a steeply discounted rate for people to have meetings. It's private; doesn't matter, within reason, how loud you are; there will be table space available; and you'll have access to a private washroom.
posted by Mitheral at 11:27 PM on September 19, 2012

What about an atrium or large lobby? Some hotels and office buildings have ambiguous open areas with clusters of couches or random tables. Often these are adjacent to a cafe, restaurant, or bar, but they're also open to people who are just staying in the hotel or working in the building, so nobody knows who belongs there and who doesn't. An example in San Francisco is the atrium in 101 Mission Street. Hotels that are also "conference centers" are most likely to have random areas for sitting, like this area in this large atrium. If you bought one coke at the bar there, you could potentially sit there for hours.
posted by slidell at 12:44 AM on September 20, 2012

I would also suggest asking your attorney to lend a conference room. And, in my opinion, there is no problem with the OP having this meeting without an attorney present. She's made it clear that she HAS an attorney, the attorney is likely (and should) review any agreements that come out of this meeting prior to finalizing the divorce, the attorney can advise her at that time if something seems to her disadvantage. Not everything has to be adversarial.

Also, banks also have conference rooms they will lend their customers, I've done that more than once.
posted by HuronBob at 2:37 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Coffee shop, or McDonald's/Wendy's/etc. off-hours --- those places are usually pretty empty between the lunch and dinner rushes.

But add me to the cautious not-without-your-lawyer list; unless this divorce has been 100% peaceful and friendly from the start, I've really got to recommend against doing this, and even more: do NOT sign or finalize anything on the spot, take it home, take your time to look it over, and get your lawyer to check it over --- after all, that's why you HAVE a lawyer, to protect your interests.
posted by easily confused at 3:32 AM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Rent a conference room at a hotel for two hours. It's very low cost and they have small board rooms that seat say 12 people.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:21 AM on September 20, 2012

Any mutual friends that you are both still on relatively good friends with whose home you could meet at that would stay out of your way (or better yet, that you'd both trust to facilitate the process in a neutral way).

Also agreeing with others. Spend just a little bit of money to have a lawyer or mediator have at least a cursory look at your paperwork. Be very clear on their parameters. Paying a lawyer for a few hours work could save you serious headaches later.

Good luck.
posted by dry white toast at 4:47 AM on September 20, 2012

Check your local library or even better county law library. I frequently just reserve a room there for free for meetings.
posted by miss meg at 5:30 AM on September 20, 2012

Your house feels uncomfortable before the meeting, but you will feel most comfortable there once you actually meet. It is just initial hesitation. No meals, no check, no driving, no audience. Go with the house.

Kudos for doing this part without the lawyers.
posted by Kruger5 at 5:34 AM on September 20, 2012

Most courthouses or registry of deeds have rooms that are available for real estate closings and other meetings.
posted by Gungho at 6:14 AM on September 20, 2012

Fedex Offices sometimes have meeting rooms you can rent.
posted by that's how you get ants at 7:05 AM on September 20, 2012

Been in this exact situation. Coffee shop worked well. Definitely review everything with your lawyer afterwards. Good luck...
posted by punocchio at 10:46 AM on September 20, 2012

I did this exact thing also. We met at the local YMCA in a conference room.
posted by Sukey Says at 11:48 AM on September 20, 2012

Okay, fine, meet at a neutral place and make up your papers. Denny's might work just fine. Sounds like a semi-public venue would help keep things, um, more orderly, and you can always walk away if it gets unbusinesslike. If you feel that you won't be brow-beaten, then any of the above private room suggestions would be fine. The part about your comfort isn't small.

Make identical copies of any agreement. Tell your extobe that you want to take the stuff home and ruminate, and you'll get back to him (try to be specific) soon. Don't sign anything, though, until you run it past your lawyer. Let the extobe do it anyway he wants. If he doesn't want to give you time to mull this over, then go back to plan A, and turn your lawyer loose on him.

You don't have to agree to any modifications your lawyer suggests, but it would be wise to have him explain the implications of the stipulations you are about to make. If you have minor changes to the coffee-shop agreement, it could be okay to just call him on the phone and ask him if he's willing to go along with them. By this time the major issues have been defined and the prospective details enumerated, so there ought not to be any surprises for either of you.

If your stipulations have any major modifications, you may need another round of negotiations. If that doesn't work, it's time for mediation, so stop flogging that horse and get on with the sad part.

I say give the amicable divorce a fair chance. Don't get ambushed, though. It's amazing how a small thing, during negotiations, can trigger enough pain to make things uglier than they need to be. I wish you luck.
posted by mule98J at 12:03 PM on September 20, 2012

Hotels and their conference rooms, but beware: choose an economy hotel. Large hotels will charge incredible amounts for use of even their small conference rooms, and for additional amenities (like $75 for a carafe of coffee and two cups).
posted by yclipse at 1:52 PM on September 20, 2012

If you go the coffeeshop route, make sure it isn't the one you regularly go to. Go to one off your normal beaten path. Just in case the meeting doesn't go well, you won't have to be irritatedly reminded of it every time you just want a freakin' cup of coffee.
posted by vignettist at 11:05 PM on September 20, 2012

Unless there's a specific reason why you have to physically be in the same place, I don't see why it can't be done over Skype with screen sharing. If you have paper docs, scan them in.

Sure it may take a little longer to prep, but if you really don't want to see your ex, then do it from the comfort of your home.
posted by p1nkdaisy at 1:17 AM on September 21, 2012

Coffee shop. Having something to do with your hands and something to sip at is really a comfort-creator in quasi-uncomfortable situations.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:46 AM on September 21, 2012

I (we) got robbed by the lawyers - $10k for work we ended up doing ourselves. I say this only to point out that lawyers are not necessarily an automatic win when it comes to financial consequences, especially if things aren't too strained. We went the amicable "collaborative divorce" route and all the lawyers did was drag it out several months while almost completely failing to mediate anything. It seemed like we mediated for the lawyers, and especially betwixt the lawyers and the court. Said lawyers came recommened, so it's not like we found them on a matchbook or flyer under the windshield wiper or something.

Parks work well. Don't go anywhere you'll ever want to go again, though, as the stain won't come out.
posted by unsound at 1:35 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

A food court during off-hours may work well for this if you're reviewing papers and such -- coffee shops often have those little tiny tables that aren't really good for working on.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:36 AM on September 25, 2012

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