In a perfect world, ending a marriage that no longer works would be a quick and relatively painless experience. However, regardless of the circumstances, divorce is never easy.
But keeping emotions at bay and focusing on the most equitable arrangement for dividing marital assets and determining custody is in your best interests.
Four considerations for how to proceed
Should you take your soon-to-be-ex to court or work toward an amicable settlement? Many people are unsure of the best way to get what they want, especially if anger or resentment is still strong. Again, it’s advisable to focus only on what you want to achieve and how best to get there. Consider these four questions:
How long will it take?
Divorce litigation can last over a year, depending upon court schedules and other factors. Settlements typically take only a few months.
How much will it cost?
It’s only logical that the longer the process takes, the more it will cost in legal fees and other expenses. Each situation is different, but trials can run well into the five-digit range. Settlements can be achieved for a few thousand dollars, but the total cost depends upon your unique situation.
How much stress should I expect?
Divorce is stressful! Don’t convince yourself otherwise. However, trials are contentious, and adding a bitter and angry relationship with a spouse to the equation can be extremely arduous. Settlements are future-focused instead of dwelling on past disagreements. Plus, you and your spouse control when, where and how often you meet. If you go to trial, you are at the mercy of the court.
When is going to court the better option?
If your spouse refuses to budge on dividing assets or agree to a reasonable parenting schedule, you may have little choice but to pursue litigation. But it’s a good idea to exhaust all possibilities for a peaceful outcome before going that route.
Preparation is essential
Gathering critical records as soon as possible for you and your spouse is vital to achieving an equitable divorce outcome. Talk to a lawyer if you’re unsure what to collect or you don’t know how or where to find financial information.