Most couples who decide to end their marriage hope for a quick and painless process. But in many cases, divorce turns out to be anything but easy. Tempers can flare as couples argue over money and property or custody of children – in addition to the underlying reasons for the split itself.
But, if a workable agreement with your soon-to-be ex seems unlikely, or they are reluctant or unwilling to come to the negotiating table, is litigation the best or only option? There are many elements to consider before you decide to let a judge here in Texas make decisions for you.
Key considerations for taking a divorce to trial
While anger may be justified in cases where a spouse mistreated you, courts typically take a practical approach over dividing property, and deciding where your children will live. Consider these factors before going to trial:
- Time: Trials can take a year or more, which is typically months longer than a settlement. You will need to budget more of your time for court appearances and meetings with your attorney, which means taking time off from work or away from your regular activities.
- Costs: Just as a trial takes more of your time, it will also take more of your money. Court expenses, attorney fees and other related costs can significantly increase in a short amount of time. How much largely depends upon your lawyer’s fee structure, but estimates are in the five-digit range.
- Emotions: A long divorce process, including a trial, can heighten stress levels for you and your family, especially when children are involved. That anxiety can intrude into every aspect of your personal life as well as your job.
- Outcome: This is the one consideration where a trial may be worth the cost, the time and possibly the stress. If your spouse won’t negotiate or refuses to reach a fair agreement, and you and your lawyer feel you have a strong case, letting a judge decide could be your best option.
Consider a collaborative divorce
Mental health professionals, lawyers and families realize that a contentious divorce can have devastating personal and financial effects. An experienced family law attorney can help you maintain more control over the outcome through a collaborative process.
Choosing a lawyer who is knowledgeable on Texas divorce laws concerning property division, child custody and support as well as spousal maintenance can help you take a more reasoned and amicable approach to accomplish your short-term and long-term goals.