Most divorces are settled, not litigated. Despite what you may have heard
or seen in movies about court battles between divorcing spouses, an estimated
95 percent of divorce cases don’t ever end up going to trial. This
means that even the most complicated or contentious divorces can be resolved
out of court – if the parties involved want to avoid the time, resources,
and expenses associated with litigation, and are willing to negotiate
so that settlement agreements can be reached.
Whether you are considering divorce or are currently initiating divorce
proceedings, it’s important to understand your options. Before you
rush or resign yourself into taking a divorce to trial, consider a few things:
What are the issues at hand?
Unless a divorce is extremely amicable and agreements can be easily reached,
there are going to be negotiations and pushbacks when establishing the
terms of a divorce agreement. When this is the case, determine what the
issue is, what’s being argued, and whether these points are worth
fighting over, especially at trial. Do you and your ex-spouse mutually
agree on the premise of negotiations? If so, you can work issues out through
settlement. Do disagreements concern matters such as sole custody without
parenting time or failures to disclose income or assets? If these issues
can’t be negotiated, you may need a court to address them directly.
Is a divorce trial feasible or worthwhile?
There’s a reason why divorces settle in most cases – litigation
is costly and it can be stressful. Trials can consume more time and resources
than you may have spent working out a settlement agreement. Determining
if you have the financial means to take your case to trial, whether you’re
willing to put them toward litigation, and whether you’re prepared
for additional stress on you and your family are critical points to consider.
However, trial can be the best option in some instances where the issues
at stake are of high importance and the situation is such that negotiation
or mediation will not work.
Do you want a judge to make decisions?
When a divorce case goes to trial, it is important to understand that you
no longer have control over your divorce settlement. A judge will hear
your story and make legal decisions based on how they believe the law
applies to your situation. You must understand that you risk an outcome
that is not in your favor and that it is an uphill battle to appeal the
outcome of a divorce trial.
How experienced is your counsel?
If you think that going to trial is the right decision in your situation,
ensure that your attorney has litigation experience in cases similar to
yours and has the resources available to help you prepare a strong case in court.
There is no one-size-fits all playbook when it comes to divorce and whether
a case should go to trial. Those decisions should be made based on the
circumstances unique to your case, and the advice of an experienced lawyer.
Regardless of how a divorce shapes up, our legal team at McKinley Irvin
works closely with our clients to educate them about their rights, options,
and the potential implications of choosing to settle or take a case to court.
If you would like to discuss a divorce or learn more about divorce settlements,
we invite you to contact an Oregon divorce lawyer from McKinley Irvin.