By David P. Badanes, Esq.

It is estimated that 90% to 97% of all divorces settle. Settlements mean that the case is not decided by the Judge (Court). Instead, you and your spouse agree to resolve the matter without the Judge making a decision.

Settlements can happen before the day of trial, on the day the trial is scheduled, or even in the middle of the trial. In some cases, even after the trial is concluded, the parties can decide to settle the matter and inform the Judge not to render a decision.

It is also possible to settle some issues of the divorce and let the Judge decide the remaining issues. For example, you and your spouse may be able to resolve the financial issues, but, you may be unable to resolve child custody. In that example, you can settle the financial issues and let the Judge decide the issue of child custody.

If the case is settled prior to the day of trial, you and your spouse will most likely enter into a written settlement agreement. This is typically called a “Stipulation of Settlement.” It is important to note, that the Stipulation of Settlement is a contract between you and your spouse. As a contract, it will specify the terms and conditions of your divorce. Accordingly, it is extremely important that your attorney explain the Stipulation of Settlement to you and that you read the Stipulation of Settlement carefully.

Once you sign the Stipulation of Settlement, it is very difficult to claim that you “didn’t understand it” or that “it was not explained to me.” If you have any questions concerning the Stipulation of Settlement, the time to present those questions is before you sign it.

Virtually every Judge wants your divorce case to settle and not go to trial. Therefore, on the day of trial, most Judges will allow the parties one last chance to settle the matter. It is very common for parties to settle the matter on the day of trial.

Of course, in order for a Stipulation of Settlement to be valid, both parties must sign it. For that to happen, both parties typically must compromise and resolve their differences. Thus, while you may believe that your offer is “fair”, the other party may believe it to be “unfair.” If the goal is to settle the matter, both parties will need to compromise their respective positions. There is an old saying that if “both parties are unhappy with the Stipulation of Settlement, then it must be a good settlement.”

If you are thinking of getting a divorce in Suffolk County or Nassau County, you need to hire a Divorce Attorney who has the experience to help you. David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office have helped numerous individuals in obtaining a divorce. Call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at or visit our web site: The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Garden City.

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