Why Settlement Is Usually Better Than Court

Sometimes we meet prospective clients who are eager for their day in court. They think that court is the best way to get justice for the wrongs their spouse has inflicted on them. They expect the judge to sympathize with them and punish their spouse.

Court rarely, if ever, brings this type of satisfaction. Vindication and punishment are not what divorce court is about.  The purpose of a divorce trial is dispute resolution — if you and your spouse cannot agree on how to parent your children and divide your property, a stranger will make the decision for you. 

You can spend a lot of money on a trial just to have someone else – not any smarter than you are and with less context than you have – tell you how to divide your property, spend your money, and raise your children.

If you rely on a judge to resolve your disputes, you are more likely to continue going to court until your youngest child reaches adulthood. You will live with stress and angst; you may end up financially broken; and your children could be irreparably damaged.

You will achieve a more satisfying result that both of you can live with if you determine for yourselves what is more important for you and what you are willing to give up.

To reach a settlement, both parties must be reasonable and willing to compromise.  Sometimes one or both spouses are so impaired by anger, drug or alcohol dependency, or mental illness that they cannot be rational.  Other cases involve domestic violence or child abuse.  In still others, one spouse attempts to cheat the other by hiding income and assets.  These cases will require court intervention and possibly the assistance of mental health professionals, custody evaluators, and forensic accountants.  Unless your case is one of these, here are 5 good reasons to try to settle your divorce, rather than go to trial.

1. To avoid the costs of trial.

Not only will a trial cost thousands of dollars and prolong your divorce, it will also take an emotional toll on you and your children that cannot be quantified in dollars and cents.

2. To have control and certainty of the outcome.

A settlement can give you some control over the outcome of your divorce and allow you to move forward knowing that you, and not a stranger, decided how your life would proceed post-divorce. If you go to trial, you never know how the judge will rule, and the decision may not please either of you.

3. To increase the chances of compliance with the settlement.

People who are actively involved in the settlement of their divorce are far more likely to abide by the terms they have agreed upon than people who have had a judge’s decision thrust upon them.

4. To avoid costly post-divorce litigation.

When post-divorce disputes arise, people who have settled their divorce are more invested in achieving successful, non-confrontational outcomes than those who have had their future imposed on them by the court.

5. To preserve a good relationship with your ex.

Even though your marriage is over, you and your former spouse will be forever linked by your children. A “scorched earth” approach to the divorce will only poison the deep well that you two will draw from for the rest of your lives.

In most cases, we can help you to achieve a settlement. But, if settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, we are prepared to try your case in court. If you need assistance working toward your divorce settlement, call our office for a consultation.

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