In almost every case there are efforts to resolve property, child support, child custody and other related issues before a case is filed with the court. Settlement is less expensive financially and emotionally than litigation. Furthermore, settlement affords the parties the chance to make their own decision rather than have a third party impose a decision on them.
However, what happens when a spouse refuses to settle? When a spouse refuses to discuss or engage in settlement, that leaves the other spouse with a limited set of options to move things forward towards a resolution:
- Start Litigation
- Propose other dispute resolution processes
I will explain each of these options in more detail below.
Litigation: Unless a court case is filed, there is generally nothing that can be done to force a resolution of the case. The reason for this is that negotiations and settlement discussions are completely voluntary and in some situations, one spouse may choose not to engage in negotiations. Filing a case with the court and starting the litigation process triggers court procedures and deadlines that must be met and hearings can be scheduled for the court to address the disputes. It is not unusual for a case to be filed with the courts and the parties are still able to work through their lawyers to settle.
Propose Other Means of Dispute Resolution: if your spouse is refusing to negotiate with you, there are options short of litigation that you might want to suggest.
- Mediation: Mediation is a dispute resolution process that involves a third-party neutral person to help you and your spouse settle your case. Mediation can occur with or without lawyers involved.
- Arbitration: Arbitration is a process whereby the parties hire a private person, usually a lawyer, to decide issues in their case. Essentially, think of this process of hiring a private judge where your business will be private and not in the court system.
- Collaborative Process: This si a relatively new approach to settlement. In this process, you, your spouse and the lawyers meet several times in a friendly setting to share paperwork, talk about differences, and try to work to a final settlement. In this process, the attorneys you and your spouse hire are prohibited from later representing either of you in court if the collaborative process is not successful.
Wait: Rather than trying to settle in some way or litigate, you could always chose to wait until your spouse is ready to settle and try again later. The problem is that there are no guarantees your spouse will change his or her position and you will lose lots of time and sleep waiting for an eventual conclusion.
"Scott was wonderful throughout the long process and it was clear to me that Scott was knowledgeable of case-law and the Wake County Court system, as well as being especially strong in court. His representation resulted in additional parenting time following the temporary custody trial and since the case proceeded to a full trial, I was ultimately awarded the custody arrangement I was seeking. My daughters reside in Wake County and now if my ex-wife chooses to relocate, I’ll have full legal custody of the girls. Throughout the process, Scott was responsive, provided extremely helpful advice, and genuinely cared about the outcome of my case. I would strongly recommended Scott’s representation for custody matters."
I was out of options and Scott was there to help. I have spoken to or met many attorney's in Wake County and Scott was the only one that REALLY actually cared about my situation. It sounds cliche' but it's not. I could clearly tell that Scott had given a lot of thought to my case. Scott has extensive knowledge of the law. That knowledge coupled with his cerebral approach and courtroom presence were a savior. - Ken
"Scott Allen and his team were sensational during my divorce proceedings. They kept me well-informed of the procedures, requirements, and options. They took the time to explain to me at every step of the decisions and options as we moved forward in my life. Their support, knowledge and presence were comforting in my time of need and help me get through the ordeal. While no divorce is pleasant outcome they help me secure my life and begin a new chapter with a fresh start. Their extensive knowledge of the law and arbitration and negotiation skills were invaluable in getting a good settlement and resolution. I am very pleased that I selected Scott and his team to represent me. I would emphatically recommend Scott and to anyone who is facing a divorce or possibility of a divorce."
I wanted to go to court and he went with it. During the initial hearing and all the subsequent hearings he fought for my rights and presented my case diligently and proved the claims by the other party to be false. Most of the lawyers, will tell you settle as it saves them and the court time, but it might not be always in your best interest. Scott is not those lawyers, he really cares about his clients and is not afraid to litigate or fight for his client’s right in the court. - Susan
Scott Allen took my divorce case after my first lawyer failed to stand for my rights.Scott took the case and I began to sleep better at night. My marriage ended from abuse so I was very weary. - Felicia