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Litigation

A Traditional and More Aggressive Approach

The traditional approach to resolving disputes is through litigation which means filing papers in court and having a judge resolve the disputes for the parties. The technique is not as common as it once was, as there are now alternative methods for resolving issues related to divorce and other family matters. There have been a number of studies on the adverse effect of litigation on the parties and their children. Statistically, less than 10% of family cases go to trial, so there is a very high likelihood that the couple will resolve their differences before going to trial. More and more divorcing spouses are choosing not to litigate, but it still remains an available alternative.

How Litigation Works

With litigation, each individual has the right to hire a personal attorney to represent him or her in court regarding the matters in question or a party can represent him or herself in court. For divorces, these typically include the issues of parenting decision making, child timesharing, child support, alimony, the equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, exclusive possession of the marital home and attorney’s fees. Frequently, it is necessary to retain the services of various experts to assist in presenting evidence to the court, such as forensic accountants, vocational experts and child psychologists.

Issues to Consider in The Litigation Process

  • Litigation eliminates the client’s control of the outcome and places the control with a judge. If the parties cannot negotiate a settlement, litigation is governed by strict rules and statutes that establish procedures and deadlines to complete various tasks and create limits on what the judge can order.

  • Litigation is emotionally more difficult for families.

  • Litigation can be more expensive than other dispute resolution methods.

  • Litigation is more time consuming.

  • Litigation is usually more emotionally draining on the parties and their children.

  • Everything filed in court is part of the public record. Except for limited exceptions, those records are accessible by anyone, including the media, and even children.

  • It is frequently difficult to obtain hearings in litigation, especially in today’s economic situation where the courts’ budgets have been reduced.

We have extensive experience representing clients in contested Family Court matters. Our experience has taught us that litigation is an unhealthy alternative for the vast majority of divorcing couples. The costs of litigation, in terms of money, time, stress and damaged relationships, has convinced us not to take our clients down the litigation road. There are other dispute resolution methods that are much more beneficial for our clients. We therefore have chosen not to litigate any more. We describe ourselves as peacemakers, not problem causers.