It can be extremely frustrating to be involved in family law litigation. Frequently, clients engaged in divorce or post-divorce litigation – especially where children are involved – ask us, “Why is this so hard?” They may have tried to resolve the case at mediation without success. Then they mentally prepare to cross the finish line, but the final hearing gets delayed at the last minute and is another three months away. Meanwhile, attorney fees and fees for a business valuator and a custody evaluator continue to mount. The client just wants out but wants what’s “fair” and what seems “right.”
Your attorney can tell you all your possible outcomes in court, such as what your worst outcome could be, or what your very best outcome could be and the probability of either scenario, or somewhere in the middle. You may be set on going to trial because your best day in court is a possibility; however, remember that you may not be able to have your hearing for many, many months. After your hearing, it is unlikely that you will immediately receive an order, but instead may wait days to months to learn how things went. Meanwhile, you may have hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in attorney fees from your attorney’s trial preparation time, time spent in trial, and possibly time spent crafting a proposed order. Suppose you receive an order that seems like a “win” to you. Your former spouse has 30 days in which to appeal the order, which may mean that your win is now out of reach for months, and with more attorney fees required to defend against the appeal.
When clients are struggling with the emotional and financial toll of litigation, I tell them, “You can be right, or you can be done.” Sometimes, being done means reaching an agreement with their former spouse that may not include every single thing that was desired in a divorce settlement but means getting all of what’s really important. It means accepting a bit less than the ideal outcome. The truth is that asking the court to make a decision could result in an order that no one likes and everyone spends more money to get there. Resolving the case with a settlement agreement may mean taking less than the ideal solution but eliminates the risk that the solution determined by the court is far worse than what could have been negotiated.
The attorneys of Wanzer Edwards understand that litigation cannot be avoided all the time and settlement is not always possible. But we will always advise you of all your options, from litigation to the kitchen table settlement. We understand that sometimes, being done is better than being right, and will support you throughout the entire process.