Ending a marriage is one of the most stressful situations anyone can go through, especially when children are involved and regardless of how long they have been married.
A big part of the anxiety most people feel is over the process itself and not knowing whether to pursue a settlement by cooperating with their soon-to-be-ex or taking their case before a judge.
A spouse’s guide to negotiation vs. litigation
Before setting your mind to “having your day in court,” even in the event of an unfaithful or neglectful spouse, discuss these four considerations with an experienced family law attorney:
- How long will my divorce take?: Divorce trials typically take more than a year or several months longer than a settlement. During the pandemic, nothing is “typical” as court schedules promise to be backlogged well into 2021, meaning trials will likely take even longer.
- How much will it cost?: We all know, in many cases, more time means more money. The longer your divorce takes, the more it will likely cost you. In addition to attorney’s fees, you’ll pay court costs and fees, and you may have to take substantial time off from work. Trials can run well into the five-digit range, while settlements can cost a few thousand dollars.
- Can I handle the stress of a trial?: The longer a divorce takes and the more it costs, it stands to reason that this challenging time will be even more stressful, especially if it’s a contentious divorce. Spouses who cooperate can reduce anxiety for themselves and the rest of their family and set a more peaceful tone for a future co-parenting relationship.
- How do I ensure the best outcome?: Out of these four components, this may be the only one that makes sense for pursuing litigation. If your spouse makes unreasonable demands over child custody, asset distribution or support levels, going to trial may be the only way you’ll achieve a fair outcome.
Take control with a well-reasoned strategy
While many spouses have no choice but to fight for their fair share in a courtroom, remember that you will have to accept a stranger making these crucial decisions for you, which will impact your life for years to come.
An experienced and compassionate lawyer can help you assess which strategy best fits your needs and explain the options as well as the potential outcomes. Instead of striking back at a spouse, keeping the focus on a fair and equitable resolution can save money and time and reduce stress.