Settling Things Amicably

Settling Things Amicably

It’s time to say goodbye. Whether you are bidding farewell to a loved one or a stranger, both you and the other party or parties have somehow managed to express to each other that you would like to part in a cordial manner. Perhaps you want to be able to stay friends or on friendly terms because both of you genuinely feel the other is not a bad person and the separation is to allow each person to move on and have a better life out of the current relationship. Or, perhaps, each of you is obliged to attend to and manage some people or properties together. Maintaining a friendship may help with the teamwork that is required of involved parties as they work together on common objectives for desired outcomes1.

The meaning of “settling amicably” can differ from person to person. Some people want to split the assets 50-50, ensure each person gains some and loses some; while others do not wish to focus on seemingly minute matters that may be preventing both you and the other(s) from moving on. What’s then, important to note is, an amicable settlement is “without arguments or anger”, according to Cambridge Dictionary2 .

It may be easier said than done, and understandably so, in situations where emotions run high and one party wants to be compensated for their “suffering” or punish the other party. In the case of a couple seeking a divorce, the party who initiates the process may want to get out of the marriage as soon as they can and often do not wish for any form of reconciliation efforts from their partner. This causes their partner to be in various states such as shock, anger, disbelief, frustration among many other negative emotions4. The unwilling partner then attempts to persuade or convince their initiating partner to reconsider by showing them “overnight” changes that come too fast and furious, resulting in the “too good to be true” disbelief in the latter.

When the initiating partner expresses no interest or intention to reconcile or halt the divorce process, the unwilling partner may start to get angry and rotate between communicating and behaving in a hostile manner, to trying to contain their rage in an attempt to not aggravate their initiating partner and accelerate the divorce process. As the situation continues to drag, both parties feel stuck and frustrated with each other as each of them desires an outcome that is on the opposite end of each other. Further complication may come in when family and friends start to take sides or pressure each party to make certain decisions, such as seeking compensation, maintenance or acquisition of existing assets3.

So, what can you do to settle things amicably?

For starters, you could consider the following:

  1. Decide on what really matters to you. You might want your whole cake and eat it but so does the other party. Sticking to this rigidly only results in a tug-and-pull war so prioritize your actual wants and needs from the settlement. Grouping your list of wants and needs into other categories such as “must have” and “nice to have” can also provide you with a clearer picture of how things can ultimately pan out for you.


  1. Aim for a win-win. When there are benefits for every party involved, there will be more cooperation towards desired outcomes2 . Good negotiation requires parties to understand why they are discussing with each other in the first place and what it entails. The nature of both the past and present issues can have an influence on how negotiable the win-win can be achieved.


  1. Focus on being objective and constructive, especially when pressure sets in and creates tension5. It is common for parties to feel the heat when they meet with resistance or the urgency to achieve their goals within a short time. While some may say emotions get in the way of solving matters logically, it is senseless to think one can remove emotions or avoid emotions altogether as they often tell you your initial reactions based on who you are and what you have experienced. Hence, there is no right or wrong in the way a person feels but the way they express their emotions can be chosen.


  1. Care for the other person the way you’d like them to care for you. The universal reciprocity may not always work but you can try it and make it known to the other party that that is your intention so both parties have a chance to have similar intentions where possible. Having a care element can often help both parties to work towards solutions that are mutually beneficial.


  1. Consider the short-term and long-term impacts of the solutions that you’re seeking or pushing for. Some solutions may appear to benefit you at the beginning but they can give you sleepless nights after some time. Some other solutions may also appear to be at a disadvantage to you but may give you a clear and peaceful mind.



  1. Ayeni, Victor & Ibraheem, Tajudeen. (2019). Amicable Settlement of Disputes and Proactive Remediation of Violations under the African Human Rights System. Beijing Law Review. 10. 406-422. 10.4236/blr.2019.103024.
  2. Cambridge Dictionary. 2022. Retrieved from
  3. Shonk, K. (2021). 3 Negotiation Strategies for Conflict Resolution. Retrieved from
  4. Program on Negotiation. (2022). Emotional Triggers: How Emotions Affect Your Negotiating Abiliity. Retrieved from
  5. Li, K., & S O Cheung, S.O. (2022). IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng. 1218 012022
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