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When should you settle your divorce or go to trial?

Divorce is one of the most disruptive and emotionally-challenging experiences anyone can go through. For that reason, most divorcing couples look for ways to make the process as painless as possible for everyone’s sake.

However, sometimes it’s not that easy, especially when one party makes unreasonable demands over child custody or dividing marital assets and income. Before you make up your mind to go in front of a judge, it’s a good idea to consider four relevant factors.

Components that can determine the divorce process

Putting all the major decisions of your divorce in the hands of a judge can be risky. Here are four things to consider before making your choice:

  • Time: In normal times, divorce trials can take over a year. During the pandemic, expect court delays and backlogs to continue for quite some time. While settlements may also be extended as long as the health crisis continues, they generally only take a few months.
  • Cost: The longer the process goes, the costlier it will be. You’ll pay more in attorney fees and court costs for litigation. Each case is different, but going to trial can run well into the five-digit range, while settlements are typically much less.
  • Emotions: Long, contentious court battles are bound to add stress and anxiety not only for the divorcing couple but everyone in the family. Bitter court fights can also set a negative tone for future co-parenting relationships. While negotiating a settlement isn’t always a walk in the park, it’s generally a less stressful experience for everyone.
  • Outcome: This may be the only factor where litigation is the most sensible route. You may have little to no choice to go to court if your spouse thinks he or she deserves more time with your kids and wants greater decision-making authority, or they demand a larger, inequitable share of marital assets.

Making reasonable law-based decisions

An experienced family law attorney can help weigh these factors for determining the best process for your situation. Avoid making emotional decisions based on wanting to get back at a spouse and “having your day in court.”

Arizona judges want to hear sound legal reasons why you deserve more time with your children or a more significant share of assets. Your lawyer can work with all parties for a fair settlement but will passionately advocate for your interests in court if necessary.