There are many reasons someone would want to stay out of court in their divorce case.
1. Being in control of your divorce process
You have more flexibility and creativity with settlement options to get each person the most of what’s important to them. The best divorce solutions for people are ones that they come up with on their own. In court, the judge makes the decision for you. All the court does is address your legal rights and responsibilities instead at what’s important to the divorcing couple. How you have run things in your family and in your marriage will be significantly different from what the law says that picture should look like.
Many people don’t realize that in a litigated divorce, everything in your case file is public record. People often don’t want to have to go public with reasons for the divorce: bad behavior, bad parenting, finances, there are all kinds of things that people would prefer not to have on file where an employer, business associate, or even your kids in the future could pull out and easily access. Staying out of court by using Collaborative Divorce or Mediation will keep the divorce private.
Everybody has heard of a divorce case that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and goes on forever. That’s almost never the case in an out of court divorce.
In Mediation, there is the neutral mediator and the legal professional’s hourly rate. The goal is to settle right from the beginning. This means that there is not unnecessary discovery, turning over of fees, or doing things just because rather than what’s beneficial to the client under the circumstances.
In a Collaborative Divorce case, even though it involves more professionals, it is typically less expensive than a litigated case. You have the right professional assigned to a particular task. There is a lot less back and forth at a significantly lower hourly rate than what the attorneys would charge.
4. Go at your own pace
In litigated cases, there will be deadlines for filing with the court, requirements to conclude a case within a certain number of days or months, and requirements to report for status conferences in court. All of which creates additional time pressure and additional expense. Not everybody’s case is ready to proceed at the same pace. Sometimes you need to dial it back because of kids, work, or vacation. Staying out of court and being in a voluntary process gives you the option to do that.
The bottom line is that court should be a last resort, not a first resort. There are cases that need to be resolved in court, particularly involving domestic violence issues or significant mental health issues. However, you almost always will gain something by participating in an out of court process. If you were in doubt about the process to choose, just remember you have a lot more to lose by trying litigation first, then you do by trying to stay of out court.