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Should you settle your divorce or go to trial?

| Dec 29, 2020 | Family Law

Many spouses who plan to divorce a cheating or neglectful spouse often picture a trial as a way to tell their story publicly and justify their outrage over the decision to end the marriage.

However, in most cases, choosing the easiest and quickest way – i.e., reaching a settlement – is the least painful and most cost-efficient method for everyone involved.

Consider four factors when choosing between negotiation and litigation

Regardless of whether both parties remain on good terms or the relationship has become contentious, ask yourself these four questions before digging in your heels for a trial:

  • How much time will it take?: Divorce settlements typically take a few months when spouses negotiate in good faith. Trials can take more than a year, and backlogged court schedules due to the pandemic may even further delay some court proceedings.
  • How much money will it cost?: Settlements can be achieved for a few thousand dollars in general terms. However, trials can reach five digits because the longer the process takes, the more it will typically cost.
  • How much stress do I want?: Divorce is stressful even if you get along with your soon-to-be ex. By nature, trials are contentious, and a bitter approach can set a negative tone for a future parenting relationship.
  • How do I get the best outcome?: As long as both parties are committed to meeting the other halfway, settling makes sense. However, when a spouse refuses to budge and makes unreasonable demands over child custody, asset division and support payments, a trial may be the only logical option.

Make decisions based on reason and not emotion

When a marriage deteriorates, it’s understandable to want to take an unfaithful or neglectful spouse to court. However, judges don’t want to hear a list of grievances. They expect fact-based and reasonable arguments about why you deserve a larger share of marital assets or more time with your kids.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you prioritize reason over emotion. This will help you pursue the strategy that makes the most sense to receive a fair and equitable divorce outcome in the least painful way.