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Should I settle my divorce or go to court?

While most divorcing spouses want to make the process as quick and painless as possible, it may not be that easy. That’s often the case for high-net-worth couples dividing complicated assets, such as businesses, investments and retirement accounts.

Still, statistics show judges decide fewer than 10% of all divorces in Texas and across the United States. Each marriage and divorce are different, but it’s essential to focus on the business side of divorce instead of letting emotion dictate your actions.

Four factors to consider for settling or litigating

Working with an experienced family law attorney is crucial to protecting your interests and whether that can be achieved by negotiation or going to court. Four primary considerations include:

  • Time: Divorce trials can take well over a year, depending upon the court’s schedule. Settlements typically take a few months.
  • Cost: Some divorcing couples achieve settlements for a few thousand dollars. But the longer the process goes, the more it will cost, and trials can run well into the five-digit range.
  • Stress: It’s only logical that a long and contentious divorce creates more anxiety for everyone, while the court controls the schedule. On the other hand, settlements are usually peaceful, and you and your soon-to-be-ex control when, where and how often you meet.
  • Outcome: Spouses who work together typically save time, money and experience less stress. However, if one spouse makes unreasonable or inflexible demands over marital property or parenting time, going to court may be the best option.

Focus on fairness over retribution

The notion of “getting even” with a cheating or neglectful spouse is understandable but is usually not a good reason for litigating a divorce. Judges expect law-based arguments on why you deserve more time with your kids and for sharing marital assets.

That’s why it’s advisable to work with a knowledgeable lawyer who understands how complex assets are valued and divided under Texas community property laws. Negotiation or mediation often lead to a fair result, but it’s essential to protect your rights in court if necessary.

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