When To Negotiate And When To Litigate During Divorce

During the emotional and psychological turmoil of a divorce, both parties may look towards an out-of-court settlement versus proceeding with contested litigation. Couples seeking to end their relationship will need to consider whether to settle out of court or to litigate in court with potential advantages and disadvantages of either choice.

Judicial Oversight

If parties cannot settle their family law matter, this will leave the decision in the hands a family court judge, an impartial figure who will not bring the same attitudes and convictions into a case that you hold. Milinda Reed, divorce attorney and writer for NetPlaces, states that bringing a divorce case into court to litigate a solution can be a gamble because you have to prove to the judge that you should obtain the relief you are requesting from everything from furniture to child custody. Many people misunderstand this legal obligation, instead using the time in court to paint their former spouse in a negative light, which may not move the needle in the case on any substantive level.  Choosing to litigate requires trust in your attorney and the court system.  Sometimes, litigating is necessary when settlement offers received from your spouse are unreasonable or less than what you is fair and equitable pursuant to the law.  Other times, a settlement offer is appropriate enough that the cost and time of litigation does not make it worth when all that can be hoped for is a marginally better result.

Negotiating It Out

Couples who have difficulty communicating and cooperating may need to have a contested hearing to conclude the case.  Those who maintain a more conciliatory approach to a divorce may benefit from a negotiated settlement. Caroline Choi, family law writer for Huffington Post, suggests that couples with strong communication skills and a mutual sense of respect commit to a negotiated settlement, since this will reduce the time and costs of hashing out a settlement in court. A negotiated agreement may be impossible in a divorce where a large amount of property or custody of children need be settled, yet nearly often will require less money and create less stress for both parties.

Deciding The Best Option

Just as each family has its own dynamics, so too will a divorce settlement come down to individual details. If you are thinking of pursuing a divorce you will need to speak with an attorney to make the best possible decision. But even without an attorney, you can ask yourself several questions to help make the choice clearer. The E-Wall Streeter suggested you ask key questions about plans going forward, such as any future plans for re-marriage, having more children, purchasing a new house, or starting a new job. The costs of any divorce can be high, but spouses seeking a settlement might want to acquire a credit card or a loan, such as a lawsuit loan from AnyLawsuits.com, in order to pay their court bills and re-take their independence. The costs of hiring a skilled attorney to argue your claim, whether in court or in a negotiation, should not be trivialized, since so much of a former spouse's future depends on the quality of their representation.