Most divorcing couples understand that working together to divide assets and establish a custody arrangement and parenting plan is a quicker and less costly way to settle their divorce.

However, that road may not always be accessible when couples reach an impasse over what constitutes a fair share of marital property, or when one parent believes they deserve more time with their kids.

What are the determining factors for going to trial?

Divorce can be a complicated process, especially for high-asset couples, and there are times when letting a judge decide the key elements may be necessary. In order to reach that decision, weigh these four considerations:

  • Time: Depending upon a court’s calendar, divorce trials can take a year or more, which is typically months longer than the usual settlement. However, you can waste a lot of time trying to negotiate with someone who refuses to work for a mutually beneficial agreement.
  • Cost: The more time the process takes, the more expensive it will be as attorney fees and court costs can add up quickly in a trial setting. While costs can greatly vary depending upon the circumstances, the price of litigation can easily run into the five-digit range.
  • Stress: Divorce is already stressful, but it can take an even higher toll on people and their families when it’s a contentious situation. Attending court hearings and meetings with lawyers can impact their daily lives, while a bitter process can set a negative tone for their co-parenting relationship.
  • Outcome: When one spouse refuses to negotiate in good faith, this consideration is often the only one that can lead to a positive or fair financial solution. While you give up control and let a judge decide, your lawyer can help you determine whether you have a strong case.

Why is it a bad idea to demand your “day in court?”

While litigation may be the only way to receive a fair share of marital assets or a reasonable amount of time with children, it’s not a prudent tactic for getting back at a spouse. Judges want to hear sound legal arguments for why you deserve increased parental time or assets. An experienced family law attorney can help you figure out the best strategy to achieve your goals.