Negotiating a Settlement Out of Court

Negotiating a settlement out of court is often the best way to handle a divorce. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement that satisfies both of you, that’s much better than leaving it in the hands of a judge and having no control over the final decision.

However, negotiating with your spouse is likely to be emotionally challenging, and the legal issues involved can be complex. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you get the best possible results from a divorce settlement without putting yourself through unnecessary emotional strain.

Why Should You Negotiate a Settlement?

It’s almost always best to negotiate a settlement rather than take a divorce case to court, where a judge may order something different from what you want. If you don’t know how to negotiate a settlement out of court, you’re not alone.

Most people find it challenging to discuss child visitation, support payments, and division of property with a spouse they may have a history of conflict with. However, if you don’t try to negotiate a settlement, the court can order a settlement conference or mediation. Either way, you’ll end up having to resolve the same issues. If you don’t resolve your issues in negotiation, then a judge will make decisions for you, and you’ll have no say in the final results.

How to Negotiate a Settlement Out of Court

So, how do you negotiate a divorce settlement out of court when it’s difficult to talk with your spouse at all? An experienced divorce attorney can handle the difficult conversations for you, defending your interests while pursuing a result that will satisfy both sides. To negotiate a divorce settlement out of court:

  • Make a list of all the issues you need to resolve and your positions on those issues.
  • Tell your attorney the reasons behind each of your positions, as this will help your attorney negotiate more effectively. Your attorney may be able to find another way to get your needs met even if your spouse won’t agree to your initial request.
  • Don’t focus on “positional bargaining,” where you stake out a non-negotiable position and stick to your demands. Instead, focus on communicating what you need to resolve the situation so the attorneys for both sides can find a way to achieve that goal and get your spouse to agree.

Spouse Refuses to Negotiate Divorce

Negotiating a Settlement Out of CourtWhat can you do when your spouse refuses to negotiate divorce? This is a frustrating situation to be in, but the reality is that you can file for divorce in Iowa whether your spouse chooses to participate in the process or not.

If your spouse refuses to negotiate a settlement, you can still file a petition for dissolution of marriage. Your petition must include the following information:

  • Information about you, your spouse, and your children, such as names, birth dates, and addresses
  • Your attorney’s name and address
  • The location and date of your marriage
  • A statement that the marriage relationship has broken down and there is no reasonable chance that the relationship can be repaired
  • A request for any temporary support you may require without naming a specific amount of money
  • A request for the disposition of marital property
  • A statement addressing whether reconciliation might be possible with the appointment of a conciliator
  • A statement that you have lived in Iowa for at least a year unless your spouse is also a resident of Iowa and is served in person
  • Any evidence needed to support your claims

What can you do if your spouse tries to avoid being served? First, you should ask a sheriff to serve the papers. If the sheriff cannot locate your spouse to serve the papers, you can send them in the mail. If your spouse doesn’t sign them and return them to you, then you can ask the court for permission to publish a notice about your divorce petition in a newspaper rather than serving your spouse in person.

Ultimately, if your spouse refuses to negotiate divorce, you can proceed without their involvement.

Contact a Cedar Rapids Divorce Lawyer Now

Dissolving a marriage is always difficult, but negotiation is the best way to make it easier for everyone. The skilled Cedar Rapids divorce attorneys at Arenson Law Group, PC can help you negotiate your divorce settlement, so you get the best results possible. Contact Arenson Law Group, PC online or call (319) 363-8199 today.

Written by James H. Arenson

Last Updated : March 7, 2024