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Should you litigate or negotiate in divorce proceedings?

by | Oct 23, 2018 | Firm News |

Every divorcing couple is different. Some couples amicably divorce, create parenting plans and share custody of their children. Perhaps they can even agree on which spouse will receive the family home and which will receive the family pet. Yet some couples cannot agree on any aspect of their divorce. Some court battles have parents fighting over custodial rights, arguing about small assets or disagreeing about child support payments.

Deciding which route to take – litigate in a courtroom or negotiate through mediation – is important when determining how you and your spouse will continue your life as a separated couple. Benefits exist for mediation, but North Carolina court recognizes that collaboration and cooperation is not necessarily present in all divorce proceedings. Divorce can prove to be an emotional process, and you want to ensure you choose a route appropriate for your current relationship as a couple.

In any type of divorce, whether your decisions are contested or uncontested, you may wish to speak with an experienced family law attorney. He or she will help you determine how to proceed in filing for divorce and offer advice in custody, support and property division throughout the process.

Elements of court litigation

Court litigation during divorce proceedings involves a judge hearing evidence and making determinations regarding your custody rights and assets after your divorce is finalized. A court may review your conduct as a parent, your financial situation or your ability to care for your child.

The process itself takes longer to complete. A judge wants to ensure the best interests of your child. He or she will oversee a variety of factors of your marriage, as well as many aspects of your child’s life. He or she will look at your property and the value of your assets to determine a fair split between you and your spouse. The process of reviewing your custody and property may take months to make a clear determination.

Benefits of divorce mediation

Mediation works for couples that can agree on many aspects of their divorce. Perhaps the spouses both wish to have joint custody. One spouse wishes to own the family car, while the other has agreed to take cash assets from the bank. These couples may even have the opportunity to create a parenting plan for their children.

Mediation resolves divorces quickly in sessions with an independent mediator. Because divorcing couples are less likely to agree on all divorce aspects, a mediator can help determine loose ends of your divorce. Couples that dissolve their marriage through mediation may even utilize litigation to determine the elements of their divorce that they could not decide in mediation.

Deciding to divorce is an emotional process. If you and your spouse can agree on various elements of your proceedings, you may wish to utilize mediation, but if you cannot find common ground on the most important issues like custody, you may wish to use a North Carolina judge to help you map out your separation agreement.