Even if you are ending a marriage amicably, negotiating the terms of a divorce agreement can be challenging. And if there is hostility between the couple, it can make the process even more complicated.
When you think of divorce, you may think of a husband and a wife sitting in court, battling back and forth in front of a judge. However, it is far more common for a couple to settle their divorce outside of court..
If you are in a situation where divorce is inevitable, or if you are in the middle of a divorce now, and settling out of court interests you, there are some important details you should be aware of. In this article, we will cover some of the ways in which you can avoid litigation, advantages of coming to a divorce agreement outside of the courtroom, and touch on what you can expect if your divorce goes to trial.
How to Avoid Litigation
When going through a divorce, couples often don’t realize that they don’t necessarily need the courts to resolve their request. There are options such as mediation, negotiating on your own, or settling out of court that allows couples to come up with a fair divorce settlement without the court’s intervention.
An uncontested divorce is when you and your spouse agree on the terms of a divorce without the court’s involvement. This route, when possible, can save you and your spouse thousands compared to a trial.
Some of the items that are parts of a marital settlement agreement that a couple can negotiate without going to court are:
- Division of property
- Parenting plans
- Child support
- Spousal support
If you and your spouse can agree on the conditions of the divorce, the process is simple. First, you must draft a settlement explaining what you have decided. Next, the attorneys for each party should review the document and make revisions until both parties believe that it is fair. The settlement agreement is then submitted to the court to be validated.
There will then be a short, informal hearing held where the judge will review the settlement agreement to ensure that it is fair to both parties and negotiated in good faith. If the judge believes that issues need to be revised, the judge can send the settlement back to the couple for further negotiation.
Since the terms are uncontested, the court has to do nothing more than to accept the terms on which you have agreed. At this point, the settlement will then be formalized into a decree specifying each person’s responsibilities in the future. At that time, the divorce is final.
Remember that even if you are on good terms with your spouse, the emotions involved in a divorce could cause things to go south quickly if you are trying to negotiate a settlement agreement without a lawyer. Involving lawyers (on each side) will help communicate clearly and ensure that each side articulates their requests and receives a fair settlement.
Benefits of Settling Outside of Court
It takes less time to finalize when settling outside of court, so your attorney will not have to do nearly as much as is required by a trial, which will in-turn save you money. It’s also much more likely that you will be happier with the outcome, since you and your spouse are the ones deciding on the terms of the divorce.
If your divorce goes to court and you don’t agree with the judge’s decision, there isn’t much you can do other than file an appeal. Filing an appeal can be challenging to win and be very costly. Working with your attorney in a neutral setting outside of the courtroom gives both parties a chance to come to an amicable agreement without leaving the decision up to a third party.
What Happens if The Case Go to Court?
Should you and your spouse not be able to agree on how the two of you should handle matters on your own, that is considered a contested divorce, and your case will have to go to court. Going to court will take much more time, incur far more fees, and likely cause more stress.
If your divorce goes to trial, your attorney will begin the discovery process. During the discovery process, they will start to collect evidence on unresolved issues, reviewing each side of the case and building an argument supporting your arguments and strategy.
On your hearing date, the judge will hear each side’s testimony regarding the issues and decide on a settlement based on state law. One thing to remember is that the judge’s decision is final.
Azemika & Azemika Law is on Your Side
Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional time. If you are trying to settle outside of court, make sure both party’s attorneys are aware of that. However, if there are issues that the two of you can’t agree on, you may need to get the courts involved.
The lawyers at Azemika & Azemika have a combined total of over 56 years handling family law cases. This expertise allows our dedicated team to customize each situation to fit our clients’ specific needs. As our client, we will keep you informed on the status of your case, allowing you to make informed decisions as your case progresses.
Let the team at Azemika & Azemika help set you on a path to a better post-divorce future. Contact us today for a consultation.