One of the biggest worries for someone who wants to end their marriage is a belief that their private marital issues will become public by having their case heard before a judge. While no statistics are kept, it’s believed that only 2% to 10% of divorces actually go to trial.
Most divorcing couples want to make the process as easy and painless as possible because even the most amicable split can be devastating. Working together to settle issues is also easier for children. Still, when major differences arise, how does someone know the best way to proceed?
Four factors for settling or going to court
If you are considering a divorce, it’s advisable to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you assess your situation. Here are some of the primary considerations:
- How long will my divorce take?: Settling a divorce can take only a few months, while trials can take well over a year because of court schedules.
- How much will it cost?: The longer the process takes, the more you’ll pay. Each case is different, but national averages show trials can run from $15,000 to $40,000. Settlements can cost a few thousand dollars depending upon the circumstances.
- How much stress can I handle?: The longer and more contentious the process becomes, the larger the emotional impact will likely be. Once a combative relationship is established, it can affect your future parenting relationship with your ex.
- How do I get the best outcome?: This factor alone may determine that going to court is the only way to get a fair result, especially if your spouse makes unreasonable demands over custody, spousal support and asset distribution.
Carefully weigh these variables
It’s understandable that someone would want their “day in court” when divorcing an unfaithful or neglectful spouse. However, courts want to hear reasonable fact-based arguments over why you deserve more time with your kids or a larger share of marital property. Judges typically don’t care to hear about grievances.
Working together through alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, allows you to control the outcome and keeps these matters private. Divorcing spouses who agree to work together can not only ease some of the pain but set a civil tone going forward for their future co-parenting relationship.