Will My Divorce Go to Court?

If you are contemplating divorce, you may be worried that it will go to court. You’ve heard horror stories from friends and family and you’ve seen celebrity divorces drag out in court for months, if not years. Will yours have the same fate? Is there anything you can do to avoid divorce court?

For starters, we want you to know that most divorces quietly settle outside of court. Usually, the spouses with the help of their respective attorneys will hash out the details through negotiations until a fair settlement is reached, one that both spouses can live with.

This doesn’t mean that the spouses have to agree on all aspects of the divorce from the beginning, but what typically happens is they will go back and forth until they reach a satisfactory arrangement. They do this in the comfort of an attorney’s office.

Once the divorce settlement is complete, it’s forwarded to the judge for final approval. From there, the judge signs off on the agreement and enters it as an official order of the court. This is the basic scenario when there is no prenuptial agreement. If there is a prenuptial agreement, there’s less to negotiate and the divorce is settled rather quickly.

In the case of a prenup, property division has already been worked out prior to the marriage. Child custody and child support on the other hand, are not resolved in prenups. Rather, this has to be worked out between the couple or if they cannot agree on child custody, the judge will have to decide for them based on the best interests of the children.

When Do Couples Go to Court?

Occasionally, couples will go to court to settle their divorce. Most couples are able to settle their divorce through negotiations – this is commonly referred to as a “collaborative divorce.” However, if a couple cannot agree on property division or child custody, they will have to go to court so a judge can decide for them. Divorce litigation is a more expensive, protracted process but sometimes it’s a last resort when there is no other option.

One of the key factors that determine whether a case will head to trial is the spouses’ willingness to put their differences aside and work together to reach a settlement. If one or both spouses refuse to cooperate, that’s when cases usually go to court. So, if a couple wishes to protect the marital estate by lowering legal and court fees, they should strive to have a collaborative divorce no matter how they feel about each other.

Looking for a Newport Beach divorce lawyer? Contact Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP today for a free initial consultation.

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