How do you decide whether to settle your divorce or go to court?

| May 14, 2021 | Divorce |

Most divorcing couples in Minnesota, especially those with children, want to make the process of ending their marriage as painless as possible. But painless doesn’t necessarily mean “quick.”

The vast majority of divorces are settled out of court, with less than 10% going to trial. Still, “quick and easy” likely isn’t in your best interests if your spouse wants more than their fair share of marital assets or time with the kids.

Consider these four factors for settling or litigating

When determining whether to negotiate or litigate your divorce, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you determine what an “equitable outcome” looks like. These four components can help you choose the best path:

  • How long will it take?: While trials can run well over a year, settlements typically last only a few months.
  • How much will it cost?: While each divorce is different, settlements generally cost a few thousand dollars. However, the longer the process goes, the more it will cost. Trials can run well into the five-digit range.
  • How much stress can I handle?: A longer and more expensive divorce typically brings more stress for you and those you love. Court schedules are out of your control, and hearings generally focus on past areas of conflict. Mediation, collaboration and negotiation tend to be forward-looking discussions, and you and your spouse control where and when you meet.
  • How do I get the best result?: For divorcing spouses who work together, settling saves money and is less stressful. However, if your spouse demands a greater share of marital assets or more parenting time than is fair, the only legitimate choice may be to go before a judge.

Keep the focus on your well-being

The idea of “having your day in court” to tell your side of the story may be appealing, especially if your spouse was unfaithful or neglectful. However, judges don’t want to hear grievances. They expect law-based arguments on why you deserve a larger share of marital property or more parenting time.

It makes sense to stay focused on achieving a fair outcome by spending the least amount of time and money while creating as little added stress as possible. Your attorney will be focused on helping you achieve those goals and beginning your new life on solid footing.