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Divorce strategy: Settle or go to court?

| Aug 4, 2021 | Family Law |

While deciding to end a marriage is almost never easy, North Carolina spouses typically want the process to be as quick and painless as possible. Statistics show that courts decide fewer than 10% of all divorces.

But sometimes, going to court may be necessary, especially if your spouse refuses to negotiate over a fair division of marital property or makes unreasonable demands over parenting time with your children.

Four divorce factors to consider

Before you decide how to proceed, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney to protect your interests. A knowledgeable lawyer can help find the best strategy for your situation, which includes assessing these primary considerations:

  • How long will it take?: While each case is different, most settlements take a few months. On the other hand, divorce trials can last well over a year, depending upon the court’s schedule.
  • How much will it cost?: There are exceptions, but most settlements can usually be accomplished for a few thousand dollars. The longer the process takes, the more it will cost, and trials can run well into the five-digit range.
  • How much stress can I handle?: Long, contentious and costly court battles are likely to cause extra anxiety for everyone. Negotiation or mediation is usually more peaceful, and spouses control where, when and how often they meet.
  • How can I get the best outcome?: Divorcing couples who work together usually save time, money and stress. However, litigation may be the only way to achieve an equitable result if your spouse won’t negotiate fairly.

Focus on equity instead of revenge

Many people yearn for their day in court as a way to get back at a cheating or neglectful spouse. While that’s understandable, remember that judges demand law-based arguments on why you deserve more time with your kids or a larger share of marital assets. They don’t want to hear grievances against one or both parties.

When divorcing spouses commit to a fair outcome, they can control the process instead of handing the decision-making authority to the court. Your lawyer will help find the best path to a brighter future, regardless of whether that’s through negotiation or fighting for you in court if necessary.