Divorce causes a whole range of emotions, many of which are negative. While making the process quick and easy can help reduce the pain, the truth is that each relationship and situation are different when it comes to resolving those differences.
Most spouses would agree that working together for a settlement that provides each person with a fair share of marital assets and an agreeable child custody arrangement is the best route. However, that course may not be possible for many couples.
Key factors for negotiating vs. litigating
Working together for a divorce settlement has many benefits, but sometimes there’s no choice other than to let a judge make decisions for you. Here are four issues to consider:
- Time: Since you are dependent upon the court’s schedule, divorce trials can take more than a year, which is months longer than the typical settlement. Your personal and professional life will be impacted by court dates and meetings with your attorney.
- Cost: It makes sense that the longer your divorce takes, the more expensive it will be. You will pay more in attorney fees, court costs and other related expenses, which can add up quickly in a trial setting. While each situation is different, expect the price tag to be well into the five-digit range.
- Stress: Contentious divorces not only take a financial toll on families but also affect the emotional well-being of everyone involved. Those feelings can impact your career as well as your personal life. In some cases, a trial sets a negative tone for co-parenting relationships for years to come.
- Outcome: For many divorcing spouses, litigation may be the best and only way to receive a fair result. If one or both spouses refuse to negotiate, or one wants a larger share of assets or an unequal amount of time with their kids, the best answer may be to let a judge decide those issues for you.
Beware of hard feelings
Letting anger and resentment against a spouse – even if they deserve it – cloud someone’s judgment, so they are determined to have their day in court may be costly and not lead to the result for which they hope. Judges don’t want to hear about grievances against your spouse.
They focus on rational law-based arguments over why you deserve a larger share of marital assets or more time with your kids. An experienced family law attorney here in New Jersey will diligently work to protect your interests and help you determine whether it’s in your best interests to negotiate or litigate.