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When should you litigate your divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2022 | Divorce

Most couples who divorce eventually reach an agreement on all the major issues and end their marriage without litigation. That’s called an “uncontested” divorce.

Uncontested divorces are often preferred because they’re generally quicker, cheaper and less likely to be emotionally draining for everyone. They also put more power in the hands of the couple involved – instead of letting the court make all the major decisions.

Uncontested divorces are not, however, the right way to go for every couple. There are times when litigation is simply the wiser choice. When should you go that route? Here are some examples:

You’re pretty sure that your spouse is hiding assets

You want a fair settlement, that’s all – but your spouse seems to think that they should retain the lion’s share of everything. You’re pretty sure they’ve been slowly stockpiling assets and hiding money away before filing for the divorce. It may take all of the investigative power of a trial and expert witnesses to get what you are due.

Your spouse is abusive, unreasonable or mentally ill

An uncontested divorce requires both parties to negotiate in good faith. You can’t negotiate with someone who simply makes outrageous demands and refuses to budge, nor can you negotiate with someone that just wants to bully you. If your spouse has some kind of personality disorder, they may also drag out the process as long as they can to either inflict as much emotional and financial harm on you as possible or to keep you under their control. Litigation can put a stop to their shenanigans.

You have at least one issue neither of you will budge on

Maybe you believe in vaccinations, and your spouse doesn’t. Perhaps you believe in homeschooling or unschooling, and your spouse wants the kids in public school. Maybe you’re at odds over what religion the children will follow. If you’ve come up against an issue where compromise isn’t possible, you may have to let the court make the call.

Whatever your situation, you don’t want to rush into any divorce agreement without fully understanding your options and the potential ramifications of each choice. Experienced legal guidance is wise.