Couples in the Washington, D.C., area have many decisions to make when going into a divorce. Negotiations could involve issues of asset division, child custody and alimony. The decision to settle or go to trial is one of the most important that any couple can make during the process.
Most couples opt to settle. Settlement is a quicker process, but it’s not always possible to reach an agreement. If the parties are very far apart on issues like finances and custody, there may be no alternative to a trial. Collaborative law approaches are still worth a try, though. In a trial, the judge assigned to the case will make the final decision on these issues.
Trials typically take much longer than a settlement would. The case needs to be fitted into the court’s calendar, and it’s also a lot more expensive. That’s because it’s generally necessary to meet with an attorney before each hearing in the process. Trials can be stressful for everyone involved. Often, lawyers will need information immediately at inconvenient times.
When deciding whether to go to trial, individuals should think about whether there’s any possibility a settlement will be accepted. If the settlement process will just drag on for several months longer, initiating a trial proceeding may be the most prudent course of action.
One reason to go to trial in a divorce is to get a more equitable division of assets or custody. The parties involved are generally encouraged to try to work things out before getting to that point, and mediators can be a great tool. In the event that a trial becomes necessary, a divorce lawyer who’s experienced in court may help an individual present their case.