Litigated divorce is one of our primary areas of expertise.
Sometimes couples find that despite their best efforts, they simply cannot agree on one or more issues in their divorce. When this happens, a judge or jury will make those decisions for them. At the courthouse, the parties’ attorneys will advocate for their clients’ interests. Although diligent preparation and effective counsel is always important, this is never more true than in a litigated divorce.
Uncontested Divorce vs. Litigated Divorce
No one “chooses” a litigated divorce. Parties must – typically by rule – mediate their case and attempt in good faith to come to an agreement before proceeding to trial. If the parties are able to compromise and agree on all contested issues, their lawyers will outline their agreement in an agreed final decree of divorce. At least one of the parties and their lawyer will then approach the court at a time designated for uncontested cases, and the judge will approve of the parties’ settlement. Thus, what would have been a “litigated” divorce, can become an “uncontested” divorce.
The Cost of Litigated Divorce
A litigated divorce can be necessary for many reasons. Sometimes issues are involved where there is little room for negotiation. Sometimes one or both sides cannot compromise due to their expectations of what they are entitled to. And sometimes mental health issues can undermine parties’ ability to compromise.
But a good lawyer will always explain the cost of a litigated divorce to their client before proceeding to trial. Litigation is not just expensive from a financial perspective. There are also hidden costs. Litigation takes a high emotional toll on everyone involved, including children. And opportunities can be lost while parties spend months focused on their litigated divorce. All of these costs must be taken into account when deciding to move forward with litigation.
We believe that having well prepared and highly effective trial counsel tends to promotes settlement. In other words, strong trial advocates who also understand the damaging nature of trials have tendency to turn “litigated” divorces into “uncontested” divorces. Even if you hope your case will not be litigated (and most reasonable people do!), having a lawyer who is an effective trial advocate is essential. If you are in Austin, Texas or surrounding areas and have a hopefully uncontested, but possibly litigated divorce in your future, feel free to give us a call to set up a consultation.