When you and your spouse decide that a divorce is necessary, you may wonder if it’s really worth taking your case all the way to court. The reality is that most people don’t. The majority of couples are able to settle their issues outside court and avoid the publicity of a trial.
Litigation has its place, but it’s not right for every situation. Here’s how to know if it could be right for you.
When dispute resolution won’t work, litigation is the key
Many couples benefit from alternative dispute resolution methods. If your divorce isn’t contested and you both agree on most aspects of the property settlement, alimony or other issues, then you may be able to settle without going to court. By settling outside, you preserve your privacy and have less exposure in court.
Unfortunately, there are some people who will do everything they can to try to drag out the divorce or to make it difficult for the other person. If your spouse doesn’t want to settle or won’t come to the negotiating table, then your attorney may suggest litigation as an alternative.
With litigation, you build up a strong case for the asset you want, the child custody agreement you’d prefer, alimony and other factors involved in your case. Your attorney will then present your arguments in court before a judge. The judge will make a ruling, and that ruling will be final.
Litigation has downsides
Litigation does have downsides. For one thing, it does take more time, so you won’t be settling your divorce as soon as you could with alternative dispute resolution or a negotiated settlement.
Litigation is also more costly than divorce, which means that you may spend more. With the higher risk of taking the case to court, there is also more to lose if your case isn’t as strong as your ex-spouse’s.
If you’re not sure if you should litigate your case, your attorney can talk to you more about what they think and if mediation, arbitration or other methods of dispute resolution may still be on the table for you and your ex.