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How to know if litigation or divorce mediation is better

Illinois couples going through divorce proceedings may be questioning whether a settlement or divorce mediation is the best path for them. Sometimes, divorce involves complicated financial assets that need to be divided. Other times, they involve a difficult spouse who refuses to reach an agreement on anything. While divorce mediation and out of court settlements are obviously preferable due to the cost and time saving benefits, it may not always be possible to reach this kind of an agreement with a difficult spouse.

A divorce attorney can work with financial experts and accountants in order to arrive at an equitable settlement with the other side. If successfully completed, that settlement document will be agreed to and signed by both spouses, then submitted for court approval. When an out of court settlement like this has been achieved, no trials are necessary. In fact, 95 percent of divorce proceedings are settled like this, without a court hearing.

The other 5 percent of divorce cases go into litigation. These cases usually reached some kind of an impasse during the settlement and mediation process. Before giving up on divorce mediation, though, couples should ask themselves some important questions.

First, what is the argument about exactly? If it involves child custody, time sharing arrangements, alimony amounts or the division of a financial portfolio, it might be better to negotiate the settlement rather than leave it up to the court. Conversely, if a disagreement relates to one parent wanting sole custody, a spouse refusing to pay alimony or non-disclosure of income and assets, it could be better to bring such matters before a court.

Spouses may also want to consider if they can afford the litigation costs, family stresses and unpredictable results associated with going to trial. Indeed, the advantages of divorce mediation for Illinois residents cannot be underestimated. Nevertheless, some situations do require a court ruling to decide, and there are many circumstances in which a spouse has little choice but to proceed with court litigation.

Source: FOrbes, “Divorcing Women: Is It Best To Litigate Or Settle?” Jeff Landers, May. 22, 2014