Should You Consider Going to Trial for Your Divorce?
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.