Flying Solo
Nextsteps FlyingSolo Our Store About Us Life Management Home

Browse Resources:



Divorce & Estate Planning

Divorce & Separation

Divorce Mediation

Divorce Tax

Divorce Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

General Divorce

Military Divorce

Remarriage & Stepfamilies

State Information

Un-Married Couples

FS-Think Clearly Before Settling Divorce
Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins

Question: Finally, after nearly two years of legal hassling, my wife and I got to court. On the day of the trial, however, as my wife and I sat at our respective tables, the lawyers were in a flurry of activity – running in and out of the courtroom. This went on for nearly an hour. My lawyer then took me out into the hall and told me that a reasonable settlement had been reached.

He went through the terms rather quickly, and I told him that if he recommended it, I would do it. However, as I heard it read in court, I began to realize that it was not good for me. When the judge asked, I told him I felt that I had been pressured and that I did not think the agreement was fair. He told me that I had the right to a trial, and I said that I would go along with the agreement just to get it over with because I was frustrated and stressed out. I never signed anything. After I received the court’s order, I hired another lawyer who told me he thought he could get the agreement set aside. Before I flush another $5,000 in lawyer’s fees down the commode, I would appreciate your views.

Answer: The laws of all states favor husbands and wives entering into agreements that resolve family disputes. Subject to approval of fairness by the courts, property, children’s issues, support, and alimony issues can be negotiated and put to rest by husband and wives. In determining if a particular family agreement is fair and equitable, the courts should look to whether it violates public policy and focus on whether the terms are fair and reasonable in light of the parties’ circumstances and station in life.

However, even though the settlement of family disputes is favored, courts should not approve agreements that result from fraud or coercion. To show duress and coercion, you must show that you have been oppressed, unduly influenced, and taken undue advantage of to the extent that you were not able to exercise your free will. And you must show this by clear and convincing evidence.

Here, you tell us that you made the agreement because you were “frustrated and stressed out” and, in effect, you had no choice but to agree. Yet you admit that the judge told you that you had the right to go to trial and not settle the case. You did not state with specificity which portions of the agreement were not fair.

Bottom Line: It’s said that more than 95 percent of all matrimonial actions are settled, most at or near the time of the trial. In the resolution of marital disputes by settlement or court decision, very few of the millions of Americans who go through this process each year get everything they want. But when husbands and wives are involved in marital disputes for a year or more, it is difficult for us to comprehend that they do not know a range of fair and equitable results. While we certainly don’t want to be construed as giving you an opinion contrary to that of your new lawyer, we believe that your money could be better spent.


Although our book “Next Steps: A Practical Guide to Planning for the Best Half of Your Life “ will not be released until August 1st, it is available on a pre-order basis at Amazon.

This book addresses the various issues associated with aging and also facilitates the process of choosing professionals who can help with concerns as well as aids in the development of a plan that is sufficiently flexible to maximize options. This comprehensive guide ensures that aging and retirement are dealt with as seamlessly as possible. With topics ranging from how to avoid family power struggles and dealing with Medicaid to discussing the viability of a nursing home and knowing when to update documents, this resource is an essential tool in creating a detailed plan to deal with the problems and crises that aging inevitably brings.

Need more advice or help with this topic? Click here to get information about taking the "Next Step".

Create your personal health plan now and make your wishes known ® using My Final Decisions

© 1986 - 2018 Jan Warner. Please See our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments.

Planning Your Future with 20-20 Vision™



Today, more than 36 million Americans are age 65 or over. There are more than 22 million family-member caregivers. Then there are the Baby Boomers. All are grappling with the major decisions that accompany the latter stages of life. This book is for them. Written by two experts with decades of experience between them, it is a comprehensive guide that instructs readers about how to create a plan to deal with all aspects of aging, helps maximize options and ensure wishes are carried out.

Learn More
Order the book
Create your personal health plan now and make your wishes known ® using My Final Decisions
Suggested Reading:
Separation and Divorce Guidebook
Click for more ....

FS-Be Wary of Credit Issues with Ex
Click for more ....

FS-Becareful of Bargaining Away Alimony As Child Support
Click for more ....

FS-Lawyer Tells Me to Lie & Pension Double Dipped
Click for more ....

FS-On and Off Again Reconciles Can Create Agreement Disasters
Click for more ....

FS-The Dangers of Family Loans
Click for more ....

FS-Transference of Affection & 10 Tips of Divorce
Click for more ....