Should I settle or litigate my divorce?
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Should I settle or litigate my divorce?

| Dec 18, 2020 | Divorce |

When people get married, many feel nothing could ever break the strong, loving bond they have with their partner. For those whose marriages do not survive, divorce can cause devastation and confusion over the future.

Most divorcing couples understand that making the process as quick and painless as possible is best for everyone, particularly if they have children. But, achieving that while getting your fair share of marital assets or parenting time isn’t always easy.

Consider these factors for settling or going to court

Emotions often outweigh reasoned thinking when a relationship ends. However, be careful before you commit to having your “day in court.” Working with an experienced family law attorney can help put your situation in perspective by looking at these four considerations:

  • Cost of a trial vs. negotiating: Reaching an agreement with a soon-to-be-ex can cost only a few thousand dollars while going to trial typically reaches five figures. You’ll pay more in attorney fees for a trial as well as court costs and fees. You may also have to miss time at work to adapt to the court’s schedule.
  • Time spent negotiating vs. litigating: Settlements usually only take a few months, while trials can take more than a year. While both processes may be extended due to backlogged court schedules caused by the pandemic, remember, the longer it takes, the more you’ll pay.
  • What about stress?: Litigation can last for a long time and is, by nature, a contentious process. Add multiplying costs to the equation, which can amount to an extremely stressful situation for you and your family. Settlements aren’t without stress but cooperating with the other party can help ease the strain.
  • What if we can’t agree?: In some cases, trials are unavoidable when one or both spouses can’t agree on how to divide marital assets, who gets custody of the kids, how much parenting time they’ll receive, or who gets child or spousal support and how much?

Emotion should not dictate how a divorce is handled

For someone divorcing an unfaithful or neglectful spouse, wanting to “strike back” by taking the other party to court may be justified. However, courts rarely want to hear about grievances one spouse has against the other. They want fact-based arguments on why you deserve more time with your children and a greater share of marital assets.

Working with a knowledgeable attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome by assessing your unique situation and recommending the most economical way to get a fair result. It’s crucial to work with an attorney experienced in mediation and the collaborative process but one who will also aggressively fight for you in court if necessary.