Can a party be forced to reach a settlement before trial?

Mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

All settlement attempts have failed with my ex-wife, including one that we both agreed to but she backed out at the last minute.

I believe it is because I refused to provide the answers to certain questions of the interrogatories because I do not want to them to become part of the divorce file and thus, a public record. I will answer them for her, but I don’t feel these answers should be a matter of public record.

Is there any way to force her to come to an agreement with me before we have to go through a costly, drawn-out legal battle?

Answer:

It is difficult to try to settle your divorce case when the other party refuses to participate in reasonable negotiations. Unfortunately, a court will not force either party to sign an agreement as it must be made voluntarily.

If your spouse continues to refuse to negotiate with you, then your case will most likely be scheduled for a trial before the judge. At that time, the judge may consider your spouse’s behavior in making certain decisions. It is likely that the judge would look unfavorably upon a party who made a settlement offer and then refused to sign it once all parties agreed upon it.

As for your question regarding interrogatories, each county in state I practice in has different local court rules to follow concerning the filing of answers and responses. Many counties merely require that the parties exchange the documents amongst themselves and do not require that the documents be filed with the court. This is to prevent large court files.

Still, the other party could use your answers as an exhibit during trial. Then, the exhibit would be made a part of the permanent file.

If your spouse’s attorney is concerned about the way you objected to the questions, then the attorney could file a Motion to Compel you to answer the question.  Then, the judge would decide if the question must be answered.

Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of your legal rights, I urge you to contact an attorney immediately.

Cordell & Cordell has well qualified and experienced men’s divorce lawyers nationwide if you require additional legal assistance.

 

Michelle Hughes is an Associate Attorney in the Jefferson County, Missouri office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Hughes is licensed in the states of Missouri and Illinois, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. A native to metro St. Louis, Ms. Hughes received her BBA in Economics and Finances from McKendree College. She later received her Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School where she graduated cum laude.

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