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Attorney Carrie Wilcox

The single biggest downside of litigating your divorce in court

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2021 | Family Law

Most people think of litigation when they think of divorce. Many couples simply cannot see eye-to-eye when ending their marriage, and they need the courts to help them resolve issues about separating their lives.

Disagreements about what is fair in a divorce, especially in the earliest days of the process, are very common. Before you dig in your heels and decide that litigation is the only way to go, you should educate yourself about the very real risk that comes from litigating your divorce.

Litigated divorce strips you of the decision-making authority

The very reason people choose litigated divorce is also one of the most concerning parts of a contested divorce filing. In a contested divorce, the judge presiding over your case in the Arizona family courts will be the person who has the ultimate say in every major decision. From the custody of your children to the way that you split your property and even who gets to keep the dog, it will be the judge’s choice and not yours that matters.

Divorcing couples can make requests and give information to the court about their wishes and preferences, but inevitably the judge is the one who gets to set all of the terms for your divorce. That can mean that the custody terms aren’t ideal or that the courts use a heavy-handed approach to divide up property that require more nuanced consideration. Negotiating with your ex, possibly in mediation, is a way to retain control during a divorce.

The many benefits of an uncontested divorce filing

Setting your own terms for divorce means filing for uncontested court proceedings. Instead of telling you how to split custody or your property, a judge just has to sign off on your paperwork and approve the agreements you reached with your ex.

Obviously, getting to set your own conditions and terms in divorce can be very beneficial. Uncontested divorce is also a great tool because it can speed up how long divorce proceedings take. Even when considering the cost of mediation, a faster divorce might be a cheaper divorce. Mediation also limits how much conflict you have to expose your children to and allows you to keep your divorce proceedings private and confidential because the details aren’t something you discussed in court.

Exploring options for a faster divorce and learning about your rights in an Arizona divorce will make it easier for you to plan for this major change.