Divorce Court or Settle? What Works For You? (Part 2)

Judge's gavel on Divorce Degree

Is it better to settle out of court, or to take your divorce before a judge?

Welcome back! In our previous article we discussed the first few items on our list of things to consider when trying to decide if you should go to court for your divorce, or settle out of court. In this series we are discussing some of the more common issues that people need to think about when making that choice. However, before we continue this discussion, we want you to know that the general rule is that settling your case on terms you can live with, is most often better than having the judge make those decisions for you. In this article we are going to look at the next few items on our list of things to consider when making a decision regarding the best forum for your Michigan divorce case.

  • Money is always a factor

Assuming you have the choice, there are lots of pros and cons to consider when deciding on which direction to take. The first one, of course, is money. Everyone knows that attorneys are not cheap, but when you go to court your attorney is putting in a lot more time than if you choose to settle out of court. Knowing that, you should take in consideration the additional fees. Add to that your potential court costs, and the price tag just keeps getting bigger. So if you are on a budget, you may want to consider trying to settle out of court. Again, there is where experienced attorney can help. Most of us are anxious to resolve cases without costing our clients a fortune.

  • Winners vs. Losers

Another point to consider is the “winner” versus “loser” dilemma. Divorce court tends to pit people against one another, and your spouse is going to be cast as your enemy during the process. That’s just a part of the adversarial litigation process. We know that right now you might think that they’re already your enemy, but there is a difference between feeling victimized in private, and being pitted against someone in a public arena. It also makes getting along harder after the fact if you are sharing custody. Divorce is already stressful enough,  do you want the added tension of a public battle? Or is a battle the only way to get what you want? Peaceful divorce is an open when both parties want it and they hire attorneys that know how to accomplish that goal for their clients.

  • False allegations may come up

In addition, there’s the issue of possible false allegations. Attorneys are required to keep quiet about the things that their clients tell them. It’s called attorney-client privilege and it’s one of the foundational principles of being a lawyer. But anything said in court is a matter of public record. This is something to keep in mind if you think there’s any chance whatsoever that your spouse will attempt to twist a custody agreement or asset division in their favor by accusing you of child abuse or domestic violence. If so, you need to make your attorney aware of that information very quickly.

  • Parents usually know best

You and your spouse know all of the ins and outs of your kids needs. So, assuming that both of you are willing to focus on what’s best for the kids, you are ultimately the best possible people to decide on how your family should be restructured. Arguably the hardest part of any divorce is dealing with the issues of custody and parenting time. Of course, if the two of you aren’t able to come to an agreement on what is best, then you would have little choice but to let the court choose. But if it’s possible for the two of you to put your differences aside in the name of your kids, you are usually better off figuring this out between yourselves. Settlements are strongly preferred in family courts all over Michigan.

Join us again next time for the continuation of this discussion about what you need to consider when choosing the correct forum, and the right attorney for your divorce. Until then, if you need any help making decisions about your divorce, please contact us at (248) 479-6200 at our Farmington Hills office. An attorney is standing by to take your call. If this feels like a crisis, please remember that we have attorneys available 24/7 for emergencies.


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