Is it better to resolve a divorce in court or out of court?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2022 | Family Law

Divorce is a legal process, but that doesn’t mean every divorce is decided by a judge after a trial. In fact, most divorces are resolved out of court through some form of negotiation between the parties.

Negotiation

There are several ways to accomplish this. One common way is for the parties to negotiate a settlement. In this way, they may be able to reach agreement on issues such as how they will share child custody and how they will divide their property. It’s wise for each side to be represented by their own attorneys in this process.

When they have reached an agreement, the parties sign the agreement as a binding contract and send it to the court for approval.

Mediation

Mediation is a form of negotiation in which the parties are joined by a neutral third party. The mediator facilitates the discussion between the parties with the goal of reaching an agreement. At the end of the mediation, if the parties agree, they will sign a binding agreement and send it to the court for approval.

Texas courts sometimes order parties to go to mediation, and many parties choose to try mediation. However, it’s not the right fit for every divorce. In particular, it’s not a good choice in cases that have involved domestic abuse or intimidation. In other cases, where the spouses just can’t get along or can’t agree, mediation is unlikely to work.

Litigation

If the parties can’t reach agreement on some or all of their issues, they may have to let the court decide. This has advantages in some case, but it can also come with serious disadvantages.

For one, resolving a divorce in court takes a lot of time. The parties will have to wait until a spot opens on the court’s schedule before they can appear, and then they will have to wait for the court’s decision.

It also tends to be expensive. The parties will have to pay court fees and other legal costs.

Weigh your options

Ultimately, the greatest disadvantage of resolving a divorce in court is that it, obviously, means a judge makes the final decisions. You and your spouse know more about your finances and  your children’s needs than any judge does, so when possible, it’s better that you are the ones to decide these issues. However, there are many cases where the spouses just can’t agree, and so going to court is the best option. It’s smart to thoroughly discuss your options with an experienced family law attorney before deciding how you want to resolve your divorce.