Many women are terrified about the possibility of their divorce winding up in court. I can understand the feeling. It’s definitely disconcerting to give someone who knows so little about your case (usually, he only knows whatever he can learn in the thirty minutes to one hour that has been allotted for your hearing) so much power in determining who gets what and how your life will proceed after your final divorce decree is entered. Not to mention the fact that litigating your divorce can be incredibly expensive.
In divorce, the pressure to settle is pretty strong. Usually, the pressure comes from the clients themselves. After all, it’s not a personal injury case, and no one party is likely to receive a windfall. You only have the money that you had during the marriage, and afterwards it’ll be split to maintain two separate households.
You have to be careful, though. Don’t let your eagerness to settle (and avoid spending money in court) hurt your case. Your attorney can provide you some good insight on finding this balance in your case, but sometimes things have to go a little further in court than you’d like in order to make sure you get the settlement you deserve.
Divorce is a bargaining process, where the lawyers on both sides make offers back and forth until both parties are satisfied. If they can’t reach an agreement, they go to court. Don’t be so frantic to accept an offer and avoid court that you accept less than you should receive. Remember, too, that just because you physically go to court doesn’t necessarily mean that the judge is going to determine the outcome. Oftentimes, cases are settled in the conference rooms outside the courtroom, just before the hearing begins!
Your attorney can help you determine what you should expect to receive in your divorce case. In most cases, you will settle—but don’t let your rush to settle affect the outcome. Take your time, trust your attorney’s instincts and, in some cases, go to court and fight for it.