Do I go to court or settle my divorce?

| Sep 15, 2020 | Family Law

Ending a marriage can be one of the most painful experiences a person can encounter, especially when children are involved. Most divorcing couples want to make the process painless while reducing costs, and many work together to find common ground. However, that’s not always easy.

Every divorce is different, both in what caused the marriage to fail and what constitutes a fair outcome for each spouse, setting the stage for a new beginning. That means getting a fair share of marital assets and a favorable child custody arrangement.

Factors to consider

Couples undergoing divorce have four basic considerations when deciding whether to work together to settle their divorce or go to court. They are:

  • Length of the process: During normal times, divorce trials can take a year or more. During the current pandemic, court schedules may be backlogged for some time, making the process even longer. Settlements may also be affected, but they usually take only a few months.
  • Weighing the costs: The longer your divorce goes, the more you will pay in attorney fees and court costs. While each case is different, litigation can easily run into the five-digit range, while working together for a settlement is typically much less.
  • Understanding the emotional toll: Going to court likely means a contentious relationship exists between spouses. Those stressful feelings can be passed along to children and others close to you. A confrontational relationship can also set the tone for future co-parenting interactions.
  • A fair outcome: Going to court may be the best and only option when a spouse makes unreasonable demands over dividing assets, child custody and future support payments. While time, cost and stress may all increase by going before a judge, the outcome can be worthwhile.

Focus on the best possible future

It’s important to remember that by going to trial, you put vital decisions in the hands of a judge, and you must be able to live with the outcome or spend more time and money on appeals. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine the best way to achieve your goals and help you start your new life on solid footing.