Dramatic divorce court battles have been glamorized on television and the silver screen. We watch with enthrallment as the spouses and their respective attorneys square off in court, fighting tooth and nail over every detail of their marriage. Eventually, one spouse triumphs over the other. The entire scene can seem quite exciting given the right actors.
But reality tells a different story. Divorce courts leave most couples with huge regrets. More often than not, it unleashes raw emotions, leads to high legal fees, and delivers unsatisfactory results with regard to property, child custody, and other matters.
In this article, we’ll share several reasons to work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse toward coming up with an acceptable divorce settlement. If you and your partner find yourself fighting in front of a judge over marital assets and children, there’s a good chance you’ll regret the outcome.
#1 – It Takes Too Much Time
Litigation takes a lot of time. That’s because it involves several people with differing agendas. You and your attorney must both prepare for court. That involves being familiar with every detail that might come up. In addition, your spouse and his/her attorney must also prepare for court. They too need to familiarize themselves with the details of your marriage. Also, the judge presiding over your divorce must be familiar with your case.
One of the reasons court cases are so often postponed is because one or more of the above participants are unprepared when the date arrives. Cases often end up being continued. Keep in mind a continuance rarely postpones a case for one or two days. More commonly, the postponement is for several weeks or months. Contrast this to an uncontested divorce, which can be finalized in a matter of days.
#2 – It’s Too Expensive
Most attorneys bill by the hour. That means the longer a case takes to resolve, the more expensive it is to continue litigating it. For that reason, many lawyers relish the opportunity to handle divorce cases that end up in court. Many couples find themselves paying $10,000 or more just to dissolve their marriages. Occasionally, legal fees climb 10 times as high.
When you negotiate a settlement without a court battle, you save an enormous amount of money. Some couples who file uncontested divorce cases spend as little as $500. They are able to use the difference to fund their lifestyles.
#3 – It Sours The Relationship
It is possible to remain friendly with your ex-spouse after splitting up. If you have children together, doing so is necessary in order to provide them with a sense of stability. Fighting over assets, child custody, and alimony in court can sour the relationship you share with your ex-spouse. It can make it much harder to interact with each other.
If you and your future ex have children, mutual friends, or share time with each other’s parents, avoid going to court over a settlement agreement. A court battle will erect a roadblock between you, making life more difficult down the road.
#4 – There Is Never A Winner
Couples that decide to litigate tend to envision themselves winning their cases. They imagine themselves emerging from the courtroom, victorious over their spouses. In truth, there are rarely winners in divorce cases that are decided by a judge. The judge seldom has a good grasp of the relationship. He or she must make decisions based on limited information. As a result, both spouses usually leave unsatisfied with the outcome.
Before you decide to fight your spouse in court, consider the reality that there are no winners. From that perspective, it’s a poor way to spend your time, effort, and money.
#5 – Appeals Can Lengthen The Divorce Process
If you’re like most people seeking a divorce, you want to put the matter behind you as quickly as possible. The longer it takes, the less pleasant (and more costly) the experience.
One of the problems with litigation is that if you don’t like the judge’s decisions, you can file an appeal. Of course, your ex-spouse can do the same. The downside is that doing so extends the time it takes to finalize your divorce. A case that might have taken a week to complete outside the courtroom can take several months due to a single appeal.
To recap, a contentious divorce helps no one. If you and your spouse are battling over every detail, consider the 5 items above before meeting each other in court. There is much more to be gained by working together toward a mutually-beneficial settlement than allowing a judge to decide your fate for you.