When is Litigated Divorce the Right Option? – The opinions expressed by the author in this and all guest blogs are not necessarily those of Torrance Divorce Attorney.
There are several ways to go about divorce – at the end of the day, the relationship between divorcing parties is the biggest deciding factor. The type of divorce suitable for a couple also depends upon general factors, such as duration of the marriage, net worth of each spouse, needs of the child/children (if applicable), and joint finances. Some couples are on friendly terms at the time of divorce, since they are on the same page about their marital situation. Divorce gets simplified when both partners want the same things and are able to work together towards a mutually beneficial divorce agreement.
It is ideal if a couple can dissolve their marriage through a collaborative approach, as this kind of divorce is quick and inexpensive. Divorces are drawn out when partners cannot get over their differences and clearly despise each other. They cannot reach common ground or agree on anything, which leads to ugly disputes and arguments. A litigated divorce makes sense in high-conflict situations, since the intervention of a third neutral party becomes necessary.
Every couple is different, i.e. there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to divorce. It is crucial to consult an experienced divorce attorney to determine what kind of divorce is suitable for your unique circumstances. Below are a few scenarios where a litigated divorce is certainly the right option:
1. ADR did not work
If a divorce is contested or the couple is fighting over matters like asset division, child custody, and spousal support, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is recommended. Mediation or arbitration can help the couple work through their disagreements and develop a more rational attitude. Both parties need to cooperate and compromise in order to reach a fair settlement. A professional mediator is usually a trained attorney who can suggest remedies to conflicts among the divorcing parties. The mediator remains impartial to both sides, and whatever they propose is not binding.
If mediation doesn’t promote reconciliation, the couple may opt for arbitration. Arbitration is like a private court hearing; the arbitrator is a judge you handpick for your case. The arbitrator hears out both sides in an informal meeting, which remains concealed from the public eye. The verdict of the arbitrator is enforceable, though it only works if both parties are civil and somewhat accommodating towards each other. ADR may encourage divorcing partners to develop an understanding and negotiate a settlement.
2. History of Domestic Violence
If one spouse is guilty of recurrent domestic violence, the other stands in a vulnerable position. The victim of domestic abuse is always intimidated by their aggressive spouse, which is why an uncontested or collaborative divorce is out of the question. The abusive spouse might have an addiction, mental disorder, and/or an alarming criminal record; hence, the victim must seek legal help to protect themselves.
The victim may press charges of domestic assault and battery during litigation, and fight for sole custody to protect a child or children. The victim of domestic violence also possesses the right to claim compensation for their injuries and suffering.
3. Complicated Finances
If the marriage of the divorcing parties has lasted a long time and they share a big marital estate, complications are expected during division and distribution of assets. Similarly, if the married partners are running a business together, the divorce may give rise to several new issues. It would be difficult to keep the company afloat if the shareholders don’t trust each other anymore. Couples who sign up for a prenuptial are able to prevent financial disputes; prenuptial agreements are exceedingly useful where there is a huge difference in the net worth of both partners.
The couple may be at odds regarding who gets what, the alimony arrangement, child support, and paying off marital debt. When divorcing parties cannot meet halfway on their own, litigation eases their burden by granting the decision-making power to the courtroom judge.