Before any family law case goes to trial, each party along with their lawyers have the opportunity to come to an agreement or settlement. Even if your disagreements are substantial, it’s always prudent to carefully go through each of them and do your best to find common ground. This may include, but of course is not limited to child custody, child support, division of assets and alimony payments.
Many on these issues could have a profound impact on the financial and emotional future of either party, so here are five reasons why you should work on a settlement before leaving the decision in the hands of the judge.
- Judges are not mediators — If you think that the judge is going to help mediate any problems during a trial than you are incorrect. The judge’s sole job is to come to a conclusion and issue orders based on the facts presented during the trial. The pretrial period is your greatest opportunity to find an amicable resolution for everyone.
- Every situation is unique — While your attorneys probably know you very well, the judge has not seen the nuances of your family unit in the weeks leading up to the trial and can only render a decision based on what he hears in the couple of hours of proceedings.
- Judges are real people — Despite their education level and experience, a judge is not a machine and could potentially make a mistake when they rule on certain issues. Sometimes you must live with this, or you can choose to appeal – however that will be more money out of your pocket.
- Costs are high — Divorce trials can take time, particularly if both sides are far apart on a settlement at the beginning of the process. The longer it takes, the higher the legal bills will end up being. Not only will you need to pay litigation fees to your lawyer, but if the case involves child custody or alimony then there may be a private investigator involved who was consulted to present evidence at the trial.
- Emotional toll is high — The price is not the only thing that will rise the longer a divorce trial lasts. This is particularly true if there are kids involved. As things become contentious, it is often the children who suffer in the long run because there is a lack of communication between parties. Regardless of what the judge decides you must maintain some semblance of happiness when you interact together with your children, because they will surely not benefit from watching their parents fight.
You may have a good reason to want to go to trial, but as with the majority of problems in this world, the best way to come to a resolution is through collective negotiating and a mutual settlement. When you do this, both parties are reasonably satisfied and this will make future communication much easier, especially when you have children.