Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.
Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.
Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.

When is it better to reach a divorce settlement or go to trial?

| Mar 24, 2020 | divorce | 0 comments

Most couples who decide to end their marriage understand that working together during the divorce process can lead to a quicker and less costly outcome for both parties.

However, divorce can often turn into a contentious and emotionally draining experience when spouses can’t agree on splitting assets or child custody. But how do you determine when to give up and let a judge decide for you?

Four factors to consider over negotiating vs. litigating

The divorce process is difficult even when spouses get along, but there are distinct advantages for settling those differences instead of going to court. Consider these four issues:

  • Time: Resolving a dispute in court can take more than a year, which is several months longer than the typical divorce settlement. Your personal and professional life will be regularly impacted by court hearings and strategy sessions with your attorney.
  • Cost: Logic dictates that the longer your divorce takes, the more expensive it will be as you will have to pay for court costs and attorney fees. While costs differ depending upon the complexity of the case, most divorce trials run well into the five-digit range.
  • Stress: A long and emotional process can take a toll on you, your child and your entire family’s psychological well-being. The stress and anxiety caused by a bitter court battle can spill over into your personal life as well as your work environment. It may also set the tone for your post-marriage relationship with your former partner.
  • Outcome: This may be the only factor where litigation is the best route. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a fair division of marital assets, or you clash over parenting time for your kids, going before a judge may be inevitable. It may also make financial sense in high-asset divorces.

Avoid the “revenge factor” for going to trial

Seeking your day in court to tell your side may not be the best reason for pursuing litigation in a divorce. Judges typically only want to hear well-reasoned legal arguments about why you deserve a larger share of marital assets or more time with your children.

Despite substantially increasing the amount of time your case will take as well as the expense, you leave the final decision in someone else’s hands. An experienced family law attorney can help you weigh all these considerations to receive a favorable outcome.


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Photo of Kenneth L. Gibson Jr.