Most people, when they’re ready to be done with their marriages, just want to get the divorce process over as quickly and quietly as possible so they can move on with their lives, but that’s not always the best way to handle things – and it might not even be possible.
Ideally, you and your spouse will work together for an “uncontested” divorce, which essentially means that you’ll come to some terms (amicable or not) on all the issues that have to be settled and merely ask the court to approve your agreement. However, not all marital splits can be resolved that way. In some cases, a “contested” or litigated divorce is necessary to best protect an individual’s rights and interests.
One of the primary reasons couples choose litigation is the inability to communicate effectively. If attempts at negotiation or mediation consistently result in screaming matches and stonewalling, it may be an indication that litigation is the only way forward.
Complicated financial issues
Divorce involves the division of your marital assets and liabilities, and issues surrounding financial support must all be settled. If your financial situation is complicated due to a high net worth, numerous investments or a business partnership with your spouse, litigation might be necessary to ensure a fair and equitable distribution.
Physical, verbal or emotional abuse
It can be impossible to engage in meaningful negotiations and assert your rights when you’re intimidated by your spouse because of a history of abuse in any form. Your mental and physical safety may be better secured if you go to court.
Child custody disputes
There’s nothing that will drive a divorce into court faster than a custody dispute where compromise is impossible. If you and your spouse cannot agree on what truly serves the best interest of your children, the court may have to intervene.
While litigation is usually viewed as a “last resort” in divorce proceedings, it may be the best (or only) option you may have to protect yourself. Every divorce is different, so it’s a good idea to get legal assistance early if you suspect that your divorce may end up in court.