Can I Force My Spouse to Settle?

One of the major trends in the legal field is settling cases. The vast majority of cases now do not end in trial, but rather in a signed settlement agreement between the parties. The parties can use mediators, arbitrators, their own attorneys, or even just talk between themselves to come to an agreement on some or all of the issues in a case. Family law is no exception to this rule. Most divorces or child custody cases end up with a signed settlement agreement. This approach helps the parties save money and time, as well as allows them to maintain some control over their cases. With so many benefits, there is clearly a large incentive for parties to settle, and some divorce or custody parties in their eagerness to reach a quick and cheaper end to a case may want to know if there is a way to force a spouse to settle the case. The answer to that question is no. There is no way to force your spouse or partner to agree to your settlement terms. Even if you did force him or her, it would be possible for him or her to set aside the agreement later by pointing out coercion or duress. That said, there are some ways that you may be able to incentivize the settlement and make it more attractive to your spouse or partner.

Think about what is really important to your spouse. Is it the house? The children? Spousal support? Whatever it is, you can try to make that particular issue at the heart of your offer. You may be getting what you want, but point out that he or she will be getting whatever asset or attaining whatever goal that he or she is really wanting to achieve in the divorce.

Another tactic can be to point out that what you are offering is a “sure bet,” while going to court never is. By showing your spouse or partner that certainly getting what you are offering is better than going to court and risk getting nothing, he or she may become more amenable to crafting a settlement agreement.

Finally, have patience and do not make the other person feel rushed. The more pressured he or she feels, the less likely he or she is to agree to your proposal.

We have in helping our clients to obtain favorable settlements. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 to discuss your settlement and your case.  Please also check out our for other FAQs about divorce topics like this one.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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