Most couples who decide to end their marriage understand that keeping the divorce process as pain-free as possible can bring the best possible results emotionally and physically. However, sometimes it’s not that simple when determining the financial outcome.

Many times, spouses cannot get on the same page when sharing marital assets, determining child custody or establishing future support payments. But before deciding that going before a judge is the only way, there are four factors you should consider.

Weighing litigation vs. negotiation

Remember that going to court means putting most or all of the major decisions in the hands of a judge, and you may have to live with those rulings. Before committing to a trial, consider these factors:

  • How long will it take?: Trials typically take more than a year, and that process could be even longer due to restrictions over the current pandemic. While settlements may also be extended due to backlogged court schedules, agreements typically take much less time.
  • How much will it cost?: The longer the divorce process plays out, the more it will cost in attorney fees, court costs and other expenses as well as losing time at work to meet with your lawyer or attend hearings. Litigation can run well into the five-digit range, while settlements usually cost much less.
  • What other considerations exist?: The longer a contested divorce goes, the more stressful it will likely be, not just for you but for your children and others close to you. If a contentious relationship exists between you and your soon-to-be-ex, it could set the tone for future co-parenting interactions.
  • What is a reasonable agreement?: Despite best intentions, sometimes spouses cannot agree on dividing assets, parenting time or future support. If your spouse is unreasonable on any of these vital issues, going to court may be the only way you can receive a fair outcome.

Focusing on the future

Emotions are often raw when couples decide to get a divorce. While taking a cheating or dishonest spouse to trial may feel like a good idea, judges want to hear sound legal arguments and usually aren’t interested in someone’s grievances.

An experienced family law attorney can help you determine the best course for your situation. Your lawyer will aggressively protect your interests by working towards an agreement, or fighting in court, if necessary, to help you begin your next chapter on the best possible personal, emotional and financial footing.

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