Q: I have already filed my complaint for
divorce, and now my spouse is suggesting that we try to work out an
agreement. Is it too late?
A: No. It is never too late for
you and your spouse to agree on the terms of your divorce. In fact, the
court encourages settlement negotiations even when you’re in the middle
Q: If I negotiate with my spouse, do I have to dismiss my complaint for divorce?
A: No. Litigation
and settlement negotiations may occur simultaneously. You and your
spouse may work to settle all or just some of the issues through the
trial and appeals process.
Q: We can agree on matters such as who gets to keep the
house, how our cars will be divided, and how our household furnishings
will be divided, but we cannot agree on anything else. Do we have to
agree on everything?
A: No. You and your spouse may reach a partial settlement of matters.
Q: What are some benefits of reaching a settlement with my spouse?
a settlement is generally more efficient and less costly than preparing
for a trial, and also may be less emotionally difficult for you and
your spouse. The terms of settlement can generally be drafted to meet
your specific needs, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all divorce.
Q: Are there any drawbacks to settling my divorce case?
many settlements can offer “win-win” results, oftentimes people walk
away feeling like they made some sacrifices. However, the same can
happen in litigation, and settlements relieve the uncertainty of
wondering how the court might decide your case in a trial.
Q: If I offer a settlement to my spouse and it is rejected, can my offer later be used against me in litigation?
Ohio Rules of Evidence provide that offers of settlement and statements
made during settlement negotiations generally cannot be used at trial.
Q: My spouse and I have agreed to the terms of our settlement. What’s next?
your contested divorce case will be converted into an uncontested
divorce or a dissolution. You and your spouse will make a formal written
agreement called a “separation agreement.” Once you have both signed
the separation agreement, the court will hold a short hearing. So long
as the terms of the settlement agreement meet with the court’s approval,
the court will grant your divorce according to the terms of the
This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar
Association (OSBA). It was prepared by Allison K. Tracey, an attorney
with the Columbus law firm of Collins & Slagle Co., LPA.