Navigating divorce is complicated. From dividing assets to creating parenting plans, understanding retirement benefits, and more, you must take many things into consideration when going through a divorce.
While some couples may be able to go through a divorce without going to court, others may need litigation in order to reach a fair agreement. Here is an introduction to divorce litigation and times when it may be the best option for divorce proceedings.
What Is Divorce Litigation?
Divorce litigation is a method of divorce dispute resolution. This process involves submitting issues to family court in order to resolve them. Families will often choose litigation if they cannot reach an agreement through other divorce options.
While many divorces involve litigation, it is not the only way to settle a divorce. If possible, parties often try to avoid taking a divorce to court to keep the cost of divorce down. Keeping cases out of court can also save your family the time and emotional stress often involved with divorce litigation.
Instead of divorce litigation, couples often use divorce mediation or collaborative divorce. Divorce mediation entails working with your spouse and a mediator to resolve issues without taking the case to court. Collaborative divorce involves working with collaboratively trained lawyers and your former partner to resolve issues outside of family court.
When Is Divorce Litigation Necessary?
At Seattle Divorce Services, we do our best to minimize conflict and keep couples out of court whenever possible. However, in some cases, litigation is necessary to help our clients reach an agreement. Our team often chooses divorce litigation as the best option in the following three situations.
1. When Parties Are Having Trouble Cooperating
Divorcing parties typically have some issues they disagree on when trying to reach a settlement. The scale of those disagreements is a determining factor in whether or not you will need divorce litigation. If you and your spouse or your spouse’s lawyer have a hard time cooperating, you’ll likely end up in court.
This is particularly common when attorneys use a power-based negotiation style opposed to interest-based negotiation. Power-based negotiation is where lawyers are geared toward litigation and winning a fight, as opposed to interest-based negotiation which is centered around satisfying each party’s main goals.
2. When One Side Is Being Unreasonable
Most lawyers have a decent understanding of how a judge will rule when they take issues to court, often allowing them to avoid going to court altogether.
However, this is not the case for all situations. Sometimes one party is insistent upon a resolution that is outside reasonable expectations. If this is your case, taking matters to court may be the best option.
3. When There Are Unusual Issues That Both Parties See Differently
Issues such as spousal support, division of property and assets, and child support and parenting plans are common in divorce. However, some parties have unique issues outside the scope of most divorces. If this is your case, divorce litigation may be the best option. When unique divorce issues mean that it will be difficult to predict how a court will rule, taking cases to court may be the best way to resolve these issues.