When a marriage comes to an end, many New Jersey couples attempt to make the process quick and painless by working together for mutually beneficial agreements over child custody and property distribution.

However, sometimes quick and painless isn’t possible when one or both spouses refuse to come to the negotiating table or dig in their heels for a larger share of marital assets or more time with their kids. But at what point do you decide to hand over those decisions to a judge?

Consider these factors for negotiation vs. litigation

Divorce is an incredibly stressful process even when both parties get along, but a contentious relationship can make things even more difficult. Before deciding to have your day in court, consider these crucial issues:

  • Time: Negotiations that go nowhere can be a huge timewaster for both spouses. But settlements typically take a few months while a trial can take a year or more, depending upon a court’s schedule. Litigation requires more of your time in court and with your attorney.
  • Money: If you are dead set on going to trial, expect the cost of divorce to be considerably higher. Costs add up quickly in a courtroom setting, and you’ll pay court fees and related expenses in addition to added attorney fees. The price of litigation varies but expect it to reach well into the five-digit range.
  • Emotions: The longer a contentious divorce lasts, the larger toll it will likely take on you and your family. A bitter fight can also set a negative tone for a future stressful co-parenting relationship. An amicable approach to divorce often leads to a more peaceful future for everyone.
  • Outcome: This may be the one consideration where going to trial will prove to be the best option from a financial or child custody standpoint. While litigation adds more stress to a divorce, your lawyer can help you decide whether your best chance to receive a fair outcome will be in front of a judge.

Let reason dictate your divorce path

Some spouses think of going to trial as a way to get back at their soon-to-be-ex, but revenge can be an extremely costly method. Divorcing couples who negotiate a settlement also retain more control over the outcome, while litigation places those critical decisions in the hands of a stranger.