While most spouses would agree that it’s better to make the divorce process as brief and painless as possible, sometimes the split isn’t that easy. Disagreements often arise over child custody and dividing assets, and middle ground can be hard to find.
If you are locked in a stalemate over those or other issues, going to trial might be the only option. So, if you and your spouse can’t get on the same page at the negotiating table, are you better off to leave it up to a judge to decide for you?
Consider these issues before heading to the courtroom
Ending a marriage can be an emotional experience creating negative feelings towards your spouse. However, consider treating divorce as a business transaction. Here are some ways to consider whether taking your case to court is a better option than settling:
- Litigation takes time: Resolving your divorce in a courtroom can take a year or more, which is months longer than a typical settlement. Your schedule depends upon the court’s calendar, and you will likely miss work for court proceedings and preparing with your lawyer.
- Trials can be expensive: Besides the time you will lose to a court fight, you will pay more in attorney’s fees as well as court costs, which can quickly add up during a trial. Some estimates put the average expense in the high five digits for a divorce trial.
- Court battles can be stressful: Along with the financial and physical costs of taking your divorce before a judge, the process can take an emotional toll, not just for you, but for your children and other family members.
- Is the outcome worth it?: This is the one consideration where the time, money and intense feelings you’ve exhausted may pay off. If you cannot come to an agreement to receive your fair share of marital assets, the overall cost of litigation may be beneficial in the long run.
Avoid the emotional “need” to tell your side in court
While it’s a very human thing to want to explain your side in court, judges are rarely persuaded by grievances you may have against your spouse. They want rational and pragmatic arguments on why you deserve a more significant portion of marital assets.
An experienced family law attorney can help you work for a reasonable outcome and not leave the final decision up to a judge. However, if a fair settlement is not possible, your attorney will aggressively protect your rights and interests through litigation.