Understanding Offers of Judgment in California Divorces

Despite what movies and TV suggest, most divorces are actually resolved through negotiations outside the courtroom. However, negotiating a fair divorce settlement requires you and your spouse to work together. Things can stall if your spouse doesn’t want to do the work. 

That’s why offers of judgment may be used during divorce. If your partner refuses to negotiate in good faith or is delaying your split, you can submit an offer to potentially keep things moving. 

What Is an Offer of Judgment?

An offer of judgment is a written proposal you submit to the court and your spouse explaining how you want to settle your divorce. This is different from a simple settlement bid made during negotiations. It’s much more official. 

For example, once you submit an official offer of judgment, your partner will only have 14 days to accept or reject it. If they accept it, your offer will immediately become the grounds for your final divorce decree. If they refuse or ignore it, though, there are no penalties to you.

Impact of an Offer of Judgment on Your Divorce

If offers of judgment are just a more formal alternative to normal negotiations, why are they used? After all, it takes more time and effort to draft these legal documents compared to more casual offers.

It’s true that these offers are unnecessary if your spouse is willing to negotiate. However, if they’re obstructing the process, there are a few reasons why making a formal submission may be worthwhile:

  • Chance of resolution: Ideally, you’ll submit a fair settlement, and your partner will accept it. If this occurs, you’ve resolved your split and can move on.
  • Demonstrating obstructionism: If they reject or ignore a reasonable settlement, it will reflect poorly on their intention to settle your split. The judge may be more likely to dismiss their attempts to continue obstructing the proceedings. 
  • Receiving better settlements: If your spouse rejects a reasonable offer and ultimately gets a settlement less beneficial than what you offered, they may be ordered to cover the legal costs you incurred after the submission was made. This is intended to encourage them to accept reasonable offers to avoid racking up charges they’ll be ordered to pay.

In other words, an offer of judgment incentives your partner to accept reasonable offers or risk paying double the legal fees and hurting their reputation with the judge.

Discuss Divorce Solutions With Viola Law Firm P.C.

If you’re worried about your spouse trying to delay or prevent your divorce, you need experienced legal counsel. You can discuss options like offers of judgment with the skilled divorce attorneys at Viola Law Firm P.C. We will advocate on your behalf and ensure you receive a fair settlement in a timely fashion. Schedule your consultation to learn more about how we can help.

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