When deciding to end a marriage, most couples want the divorce process to be as quick and painless as possible. However, there are times when that may not be feasible.

Couples can reach an impasse over custody agreements for their children, or one spouse may hold out for more than their fair share of marital assets. So, how do you determine whether it’s best to continue to negotiate in good faith, or let a judge decide for you?

Four primary considerations for settling or litigating

If one or both spouses refuse to budge on one or more vital issues during divorce, there may be no choice but to go to Court. However, it is typically a good idea to first consider these aspects:

  • Time: A trial can take more than a year due to Court calendars and other variables, which is months longer than the average settlement. Court hearings and strategy sessions with your attorney will also affect your work schedule and your personal life. However, endless negotiations with a stubborn spouse can also take up much of your time.
  • Cost: The longer the process goes, the more it will cost. You will have to not only pay more in attorney fees, but absorb Court fees and other related expenses. Those expenditures can add up quickly, and while the total cost varies depending upon your particular case, the average cost of litigation can run well into the five-digit range.
  • Stress: Going to Court can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially during a contentious divorce. That can take a toll on your emotional health, as well as your children’s and other family members. It can also set a negative tone for your post-divorce co-parenting relationship with your former spouse and spill over into every aspect of your personal and professional life.
  • Outcome: This is likely the consideration where a trial makes the most sense, especially in a high-asset divorce. If your spouse refuses to negotiate in good faith and wants a bigger chunk of marital assets, or more time with your kids, your only chance for a fair result could be to let a judge decide. However, remember, you will have little to no control over the final decision.

Choose reason over emotion

Choosing litigation over negotiation only as a way to get back at a spouse is likely not a good justification to go to trial. Judges focus on sound legal arguments to determine whether you are entitled to receive more assets or more time with your kids. An experienced family law attorney here in Pennsylvania will vigorously fight for the best outcome possible, whether it is at the negotiating table or in front of a judge.

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