How to settle my divorce out of court

Hiring a Divorce attorney doesn’t have to be an expensive, drawn-out experience. In fact, you might don’t need it at all. If you and your spouse are amicable, there is a much better option than taking your case to court: settling.

Settling allows you and your spouse to draw up the terms of your divorce agreement outside of the courtroom, rather than having a judge divvy up your assets, property division and responsibilities. Not only can this drastically speed up the divorce process, but it will also save you some significant money on legal fees and court hearings. As a bonus, settling can significantly reduce stress and conflict between you and your ex as you work through this together and decide what’s best for your family.

If you think settling is a viable option for you and your spouse, follow our step-by-step guide for a simple settlement process.

  1. Get your financial information together. Whether you settle in or out of court, you’ll need to provide a thorough record of your financial information. This will be used to determine appropriate measures for child support and spousal support, dividing assets and liabilities. No matter what, be honest about your financial situation because hiding anything can get your entire case overturned.
  2. Get a good divorce lawyer. Even if you and your spouse are friendly, it’s always wise to have an experienced divorce lawyer on your case from the beginning. Your lawyer is an essential asset in ensuring that you’ve completed all your paperwork, followed proper legal procedures, and met all your deadlines. If things with your spouse do go south during discussions, your divorce lawyer will keep you on track and help you make smart decisions under stress. 
  3. File for divorce. Your lawyer will help you fill out the paperwork and get your petition on its way to the court. If necessary, be sure to include sections for temporary order requests regarding child support and child custody, spousal support, etc. 
  4. Make a list of what’s important to you. If you’re going to settle out of court, you need to know what you hope to walk away with. Make a list in order of importance with your proposed terms for assets, child custody, child and spousal support, and property divisions. This will help you keep your priorities straight and your head clear when you enter negotiations with your spouse. 
  5. Meet with your spouse. Once both of you have considered your terms, meet to discuss what you want from the settlement. Decide to be open and willing to listen as you discuss what’s best for your family. Remember that settlements, by definition, will almost always include compromise. The most important thing you have to work out together is your parenting plan. So be sure to keep your children’s best interests at the forefront of the entire conversation. Do your best to come up with a rough draft of a plan together, but do not sign anything until your lawyer has drawn up the official agreement. 
  6. Take the plan to your lawyer. Once you and your spouse have discussed your settlement terms, let your lawyer draft the official papers to sign. They’ll verify that all the legal bases are covered and point out any red flags you failed to discuss. They’ll also handle the documents for child support and child custody. 
  7. Resolve disputes with a divorce mediator. Rather than taking your disagreements to the judge, save yourselves time and money by using a mediator. If any problems came up in your initial conversation, a mediator could help you find a middle ground that appeases you both. Again, remember that settlements may require compromise. Use this opportunity to create an agreement that makes you both as happy as possible. If you take it to a judge, there’s no telling which way the rulings will fall. Once you’ve come to a satisfactory agreement, your lawyers will use the new terms to create final drafts for both parties to sign. 
  8. Submit your settlement to the court. After you’ve both signed the agreement, it’s time to send your final agreement in for a judge’s approval. If you’ve followed your attorney’s guidance, you shouldn’t run into any legal or procedural issues, and all that’s left is to wait for the judge to make it a final court order. Once this is done, your divorce is complete!

If settling sounds like a good option for you, talk to your divorce attorney as soon as possible to see whether it’s an appropriate fit for your situation. Your attorney will help you objectively determine if it’s a viable course based on your financial situation and existing relationship with your spouse.

If you’re searching for an experienced divorce and family law attorney, be sure to call our team at Duncan Family Law. Our dedicated lawyers will ensure that you have the best guidance available. Reach out to us by phone or email to set up an appointment with one of our family law specialists today!

Phone: +1-855-369-9993