Why Negotiated Settlements are in Your Best Interest

During your divorce, you will likely experience emotional tension and anxiety during various stages of the process. From the outset, the stress level can be through the roof when merely trying to figure out where to begin. However, once the paperwork is filed, the step that comes next is actually within the control of you and your spouse.

When a divorce plays out in court, one or both sides will likely become disenchanted with the process at some point. It is common for at least one spouse to feel that he or she is not being treated fairly or that his or her “side of the story” is not being heard. Therefore, one of the best ways to try and get what you really believe is best for you is to negotiate decisions yourselves, rather than rely on the judge. In fact, judges LOVE when parties agree! Why? One of the reasons is that it makes the judge’s job easier.

Almost every single day in court, the judge is listening to case after case where one side completely disagrees with the other. The judge must make major decisions affecting people’s lives and the lives of their minor children, if they have any. Even when a judge is presented with all available information regarding a case, who is really in the best position to determine what is ultimately fair? A judge who does not know any of the people or the people themselves?

Even if you truly believe you are absolutely right about everything, and you are certain that your soon to be ex-spouse is an evil person, it is far better for you to be more in control of the way your case is decided, rather than having a stranger substitute his or her judgment for your own. Provided that there are no safety issues in the case that require a judge’s order or some other order of protection, reaching a settlement may be the best way to get more of what you truly believe you are entitled to. Of course, not every couple going through a divorce will be able to reach an agreement on all of the issues they are facing. However, a partial agreement on some of the issues is better than not agreeing on any of the issues.

What should you learn from this post? You should do your best to reach a settlement with the other party. It does not mean you should always “give in,” but should remain flexible. By limiting your interactions with a judge, you are more likely to alleviate feelings of frustration and walk away feeling more satisfied with the results.


Nicole Lewis

Nicole is a San Francisco Bay Area native, born and raised in Vallejo, California, and began practicing law in the state in 2001. She worked as a Mayoral Aide for Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn prior to beginning her legal career as a Child Support Services Department Staff Attorney for the County of Los Angeles. She now practices all aspects of family law (nlewislaw.com), and is known for being an honest and compassionate practitioner who understands that the divorce process is extremely difficult for individuals to navigate on their own. She is trusted by her clients and has often handled other legal matters that her clients faced, such as juvenile dependency, special education, guardianship, civil litigation, and criminal defense. In addition to practicing law, Nicole has served as an Adjunct Law Professor at Irvine University College of Law where she taught torts and criminal law. She is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court, Central District of California and Northern District of California. Nicole earned her BA degree in Political Science from California State University Fresno, and her Juris Doctor degree from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, CA.