If you are a party in a family law case, there are generally two ways to approach the matter: settle out of court or go to court. But many people might wonder if one option is better than the other. After all, a well-negotiated settlement – child custody or property division, for example — could quietly get you and everyone else involved what they want without a costly trial. At the same time, some genuinely believe justice in these situations can only be served in a court of law. So who is right?
The answer lies in the facts and circumstances of your family law case and your goals and resources. At Nelson Law Group, PC, it is our job to use our background, experience, and knowledge of the law to help you make an informed decision on which path will yield the best outcome for your unique situation.
Sometimes, it is possible to find common ground and settle through processes such as collaborative divorce or mediation.
In other situations, a settlement simply may not be possible due to the issues or the positions taken by the other party. As a result, your only option is to let the judge or the jury resolve the disputed issues in your case.
For today’s blog post, here are a few pros and cons of settling or going to court:
What does it mean to settle out of court?
When you settle out of court, you and the other party work through your differences and reach a solution with which each party can live. To settle your case, both parties must be willing to compromise. The settlement necessarily involves all the issues in your case if you want to avoid court. However, sometimes, you can only settle some of the issues. Therefore, you must go to court to have the judge or jury decide the unresolved issues.
Benefits to settling out of court
- Faster resolutions.
- Control over the outcome.
- Less stress and family strife.
- Both parties avoid additional court expenses and attorney fees.
- Both parties maintain their privacy by not having a trial in a public forum.
Cons to settling out of court
- Neither party gets exactly or everything that they think they want out of the case.
- You and the other party cannot pursue further legal action, as there is no right to appeal the agreement if you change your mind.
- Potential second thoughts may lead to dissatisfaction with the result, resentment about the process, etc.
What does it mean to go to court?
Most parties end up in court because they cannot find common ground, there is a substantial legal dispute, the resolution of which dictates who will win in court, boundaries need to be set in the relationship, or the emotions are such that one or more of the parties is making emotional rather than business decisions regarding the lawsuit. As a result, both parties incur substantially more attorney fees and court costs.
Benefits of going to court
- It is sometimes necessary to go to court to set boundaries in a relationship to benefit the post-divorce relationship dynamics.
- You get to tell your story and explain the details of what happened. Hence, you feel “heard.”
- Sometimes, court can be a bridge to a better post-divorce relationship.
Cons to going to court
- It is a more expensive and time-consuming option.
- You may not get everything your want — even if you believe you should. You are putting your faith in the hands of the court.
- The details (testimony of the witnesses) of your court case become public record.
- Court cases can damage family relationships.
Call Nelson Law Group today!!
Whether you think you should settle or try your luck in family law court, you need an experienced lawyer in your corner — someone who has seen it all, gathers relevant evidence to build a personalized strategy, and has a compassionate approach. Nelson Law Group, PC brings over two decades of experience to each family law case we handle. We have extensive bench and jury trial experience, and we will devise a comprehensive strategy based on our years of experience, intuitive legal skill, and the desired outcome of your case. We will also be available to answer your questions or respond to your concerns as they come up.
Contact us today to talk about your situation and gain the information you need to know to make good decisions moving forward. Give our knowledgeable staff a call if you have any further questions regarding this or any other issue.
Our staff is always available. Give us a call today! For more information about Brett A. Nelson, click here.