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by | May 2, 2023 | Family Law |

Television and movies portray the legal profession as mostly taking place in court. Courtroom dramas make for good plotlines, but they are not realistic — especially when it comes to divorce.

Very few civil lawsuits filed in Denton end up going to trial. Divorces and other family law conflicts are no exception. Nationwide, an estimated 90 percent of divorces settle out of court. Usually, unless your spouse can’t or won’t negotiate in good faith, a trial won’t be necessary.

Don’t forget the possibility of trial

That does not mean that the possibility of trial does not matter. If negotiations fail, it may be your best option for a reasonable division of assets, child custody order and other important matters. The possibility of a lengthy, public divorce trial can be useful leverage to encourage divorcing spouses to work together on a settlement both sides can accept.

Trial vs. settlement: 3 factors affecting the decision

That said, if you want to skip negotiations and go straight to trial, that is your right. But here are a few things to consider.

  • Time. Unlike in the movies or TV, your case will not get before a judge within a few days or weeks. A divorce trial can take a year or more, with months spent waiting until your court date comes up. Most settlements take months to complete, though this is not always the case.
  • Stress. Getting divorced is frequently stressful, but especially if your attorney is preparing for trial. They might need information from you for court with little notice. Being “on call” at virtually all times can add to the drain on your energy and emotions. Then there is the uncertainty that things will go your way with the verdict.
  • Money. Going to trial will almost certainly cost you more in legal fees and court costs than settling. Of course, this is not true if your spouse will not be reasonable about property division, alimony and so forth. Then going to trial might be in your financial best interests.

However your divorce gets resolved, it should leave you ready for the next chapter in your life. Working with an experienced and dedicated family law attorney is the best way to ensure this.