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4 Reasons to Keep Your Divorce Out of Court

Out of court divorce

The court system works very well to resolve most disputes. However, it does not work as well for people who are going through a divorce. Here are four good reasons to keep your divorce out of court.

1) Being in control of your divorce process

In court, the judge makes the decisions for you. All the court can do is address legal rights and responsibilities, instead of what is important to the divorcing couple. You have more flexibility and creativity with settlement options when you use an out of court divorce process. This flexibility allows each person to address what is most important to them, which helps assure more of each person's needs and priorities are being met. The best divorce solutions for people are usually the ones they come up with on their own. How you have made decisions and handled finances in your family during your marriage may be significantly different from what the law says that picture should look like.

2) Confidentiality

Many people do not realize that in a litigated divorce, everything in your case file is public record. This public record may include mudslinging and sometimes false claims about the reasons for the divorce: bad behavior, bad parenting, finances. There are all kinds of things people would prefer not to have available for public inspection. You may not realize that an employer, business associate, or even your adult children could easily access all the court filed documents. Staying out of court by using Collaborative Divorce or Mediation will keep the divorce private. Necessary documents will be prepared in a neutral, non-adversarial way to maintain as much privacy as possible for the family.

3) Costs 

Everybody has heard of a divorce case that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and goes on forever. That scenario almost never occurs in an out of court divorce.

In Mediation, there is one neutral mediator and parties share the legal professional's hourly rate. The goal is to settle right from the beginning. This means that there is not unnecessary discovery, time spent at court waiting for the case to be called, or money spent doing things just because they are standard practices in litigation, rather than what is beneficial to the clients under the particular circumstances.

A Collaborative Divorce case, even though it involves more professionals, is typically less expensive than a litigated case. You have the right professional assigned to a particular task. There is a lot less back and forth at a significantly lower hourly rate than the attorneys would charge for doing the same work.

4) Go at Your Own Pace 

In traditional litigated divorce, there are usually deadlines for filing with the court, requirements to conclude a case within a certain number of days or months, and requirements to report for status conferences in court. All of which creates additional time pressure and additional expense. Not everybody's case is ready to proceed at the same pace. Sometimes people need to pause the process or slow the pace due to issues with work, kids, health, or vacations. Staying out of court and working in a voluntary process gives you the option go as fast or as slow as you need.

The bottom line is that court should be a last resort, and not the default option for divorcing couples. There are cases that need to be resolved in court, particularly those involving domestic violence issues or significant mental health issues. Clients will almost always gain something by participating in an out of court process, even if there are issues that must ultimately be settled by a judge. If you are in doubt about the process to choose, remember you have a lot more to lose by trying litigation first than you do by trying to stay of out court.

If you work like to learn more about Out of Court Options for your divorce, call Beth M. Appelsmith at 916-239-2315 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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If you think non-litigated divorce is for you, call 916-239-2315 or fill out the form below to schedule a consultation.