Divorce Litigation--The Pros and Cons

Divorce Litigation remains the most popular and common method for individuals to obtain a divorce—but in making an informed decision as to how best to proceed, it is imperative that you understand the Pros and Cons of Divorce Litigation. 

               This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some general points to consider when weighing your options:

Pros:

·        Obtain results despite lack of Cooperation:           Cooperation is key in Collaborative Divorce and/or Mediation, whereas in Divorce Litigation the Court can execute Orders and even provide for a global resolution in the absence of your spouse’s consent or cooperation.

·        Subpoena Power:            When your spouse is hiding assets or refusing to provide financial records, you can subpoena the documents directly from the financial institution.

·        Protection from Abusive Relationships:   When there is domestic violence—physical, emotional or financial—Divorce Litigation is really your only alternative. 

Cons:

·        Cost:    The number one disadvantage of Divorce Litigation is the cost.  You are often forced to pay your lawyer to complete tasks or appear in court for matters which do little to actually move your case forward or help resolve your matter.

·        Time:    Divorce Litigation routinely takes twice as long as Private Dispute Resolution from start to end.  Further, you don’t control the schedule—the Court dictates when you must appear.  Worse, courthouses are notorious for “hurry up and wait”, as you are required to appear at 8:30 AM and may not have your case called until after the lunch break

·        Loss of Control:         Ultimately, you have divested yourself of control if you leave the resolution of your matter to a third party.

·        Adversarial:                   Divorce Litigation is defined by a Wife vs. Husband mentality.  Even if you have the best of intentions, once you are pitted against one another, the nature of litigation can result in you becoming consumed by the adversarial process.

·        Lack of Privacy           Divorce Litigation is a public matter.  In Private Dispute Resolution you can keep your private matters out of the public record.

               For some people, and in certain cases, Divorce Litigation remains the only and/or best option.  However, even if you pursue Divorce Litigation, it is important to recognize that the strategy employed during the litigation can be tailored to your specific circumstances and that you can control your case to ensure that common sense decisions are being made as to how you are spending your resources. 

David Cardamone