Divorce proceedings can be complicated even for the most civil of couples. However, in many case there are things you and your spouse can do to work through the process while saving you time, money, and stress. Settling your divorce out of court can provide major relief in all three of these categories. With the help of your lawyers and a mediator, settling outside the courtroom can be a much smoother process than going before a judge.
Taking your divorce proceedings to court simply takes much more time than settling out of court. You and your lawyer must invest significantly more time in readying your case for the courtroom than readying it for settlement discussions. To build a strong case for court, you must gather all relevant documents, hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, prepare your statements and arguments, and much more. On top of this, the court system is slow. It takes time for your case to go to trial and once you get there, the ruling could still be delayed for weeks or months if the judge takes the case under advisement. Additional appeals cost you still more time afterwards. Altogether, the amount of time spent going through divorce court is many times the amount of time spent settling with your spouse out of court. To prepare for settlement discussions you will still need to gather documents and prepare your settlement position, however, this process is not as intensive as preparing for court.
Going hand in hand with the time you lose in divorce court is the money you lose along the way. Settling out of court can save you the enormous expense of divorce court. If you proceed with going to court instead of settling, lawyer fees and taking time off from work can cost you much more than settling. In addition to having to pay your lawyers for working the extra hours to prepare to present your case in court, you may also have to pay expert witnesses to appear in court for your case. You must also take time off from work to appear in court, which will cost you your wages. These dollars add up fast, and before you know it, the cost of court is far larger than settling. There is also the possibility that even after preparing for your case and going to court, you may lose, resulting in even more money lost.
When you look at the time and money spent on divorce court, it’s no wonder that there is also a higher level of stress attached to divorce court proceedings. When you have to spend more time and money on your divorce, you are much more likely to experience high levels of stress. Going to court is not an easy process, and having your future decided by someone else is stressful to say the least. By settling out of court you can work together with your spouse, your lawyers, and a mediator to reduce the stress of a drawn-out divorce court case into a far less time and money consuming agreement. Navigating your divorce does not have to take all of your resources. By working to settle out of court, you are taking the steps needed to ensure that your divorce doesn’t cost you additional time, money, or stress.
Stress and emotion are incredible motivators. When things are stressful, we tend to act very quickly. The first step that people usually take is to physically separate. One person will move out just to remove themselves from a very emotional situation. In some case, after a separation, a divorce happens quickly. There are issues about spousal and child support, asset distribution, and so many other things that make the step after separation come right away.
Sometimes, the next step is not so dire. Once the separation occurs, the stress is instantly relieved. This happens often when there are no young children to worry about or there is a hope that the issues can be resolved over time. Another reason that people procrastinate may be health insurance. There are so many reasons that people give for not moving on to the next step. When it comes down to it, it is easier to procrastinate than it is to move forward.
The truth is that there are a lot of reasons why it is beneficial to move on sooner rather than later. Some reasons are emotional, some are financial and others are practical.
This sort of living situation becomes a stressor on its own, not only for the couple but for family and other loved ones around them. If there are children, even adult children, they may start to wonder if their parents are going to end up getting back together again. This sort of unknown can cause a high level of stress.
There is also the case of what happens if someone meets another person and starts a relationship. Whether it is a serious relationship or not, it could be extremely stressful on the new relationship with the new person knowing that the person they are getting involved with is still attached to another. If you hide the fact that you are still married, and the new relationship becomes serious, it becomes a much more difficult situation to deal with. It could very well be the deal breaker of a new relationship.
With the divorce proceeding itself, the length of time you spent separated may be considered if the court decides on the issues of spousal support. The years spent separated can be considered in the analysis of the support issue and may extend the length of time support must be paid.
Until you divorce, your lives are still intertwined. Property ownership may still be under both of your names. Your taxes are still tied together. You may even still have joint bank accounts that need to be managed. If one spouse runs up debt on a joint credit card, then the banks will come after both spouses for payment. You may be separated for years and think you are free and clear until the bank calls and your credit is ruined. To make matters even worse, if you have a credit card and your spouse is still an authorized user on the account, they can run up the bills and you will be totally responsible for them.
It is time to finish the process. Separation is only the first step. The stress and emotion of a bad marriage may be a thing of past, but it does not mean you should forget about the next steps. Get the divorce filed and finalized. The truth is if you have been living separated this long, you have most likely already worked out all the details of support and asset separation. The divorce can be completed without the emotion that tends to lead to ugly drawn out battles.