We’ve all heard horror stories of contentious divorces gone wrong. Embarrassing details of the marriage are aired in open court, and the arguing can seem ugly and petty. But if you’re headed toward marriage dissolution, then you might feel like litigation is unavoidable, especially if you have trouble communicating with your spouse.
However, there are very effective ways to avoid divorce litigation. In fact, there are strong reasons why you may want to avoid litigation altogether. Let’s look at some of those reasons:
- You lose control: When you hash out your divorce in court, the judge is going to be the ultimate decision-maker. The judge knows nothing about you and your family other than what is presented in court. This means that a spousal support obligation or child support determination may be based on evidence that is incomplete or taken out of context. You also can’t discount the role that unconscious bias may play in your case. If, on the other hand, you’re able to negotiate a resolution with your spouse without going to trial, then you can retain control of the outcome to a certain extent. This increases the likelihood that you’ll reach a result that is fair and favorable to you and your family.
- It can lead to more conflict: Litigating a divorce case leads to contention. Yet, your divorce legal issues aren’t permanently settled after the judge issues the initial divorce decree. This is because you may end up facing disagreement over child custody, child support, or alimony. If you’ve already established that you can’t negotiate a resolution on these matters, then you and your ex-spouse will probably forego negotiating in the future, too, which can lead to even more heated battles and additional litigation. Consider setting the tone by engaging in alternative dispute resolution on the front end of your divorce, as this may foster more productive conversations when those issues arise later on.
- Litigation is hurtful: When attorneys litigate a divorce, many of them hack their way toward the outcome that their client wants, cutting down whoever is in their way. These attacks can feel extraordinarily personal, leaving you deeply hurt. The litigation process can sometimes be downright traumatic as the person that you once cared deeply about tries to destroy your credibility, your honesty, and your relationship with your child. By having more civilized conversations through mediation, though, you may be able to obtain the same or a similar result without the harshness of litigation.
- Litigation can be harmful to your children: Even if your kids aren’t directly involved in your divorce litigation, they are still affected by it. This is because litigation can leave you and your spouse distracted, irritable, and tired, any of which can affect your parenting abilities. If you’re facing a custody dispute, then your children might feel forced to take sides, which is hurtful to them. Negotiating resolution prior to litigation can help avoid these harmful effects.
Find the right way to approach your divorce
There’s certainly a lot to consider as you think about how to approach your divorce. But we hope that you take the time to assess whether litigation is truly in your best interests. After all, there are law firms out there, like ours, that can help you and your spouse find a way to dissolve your marriage in a fair and less contentious fashion.
So, if you’d like to learn more about alternative methods to divorce, such as mediation and collaborative divorce, then please consider reaching out to a law firm that is experienced in these practices.