Divorce Misconceptions - Courtroom Drama
We’ve all seen the movies and television shows where a dramatic divorce plays out in the courtroom in front of a judge and jury. This is often the preconceived image a person brings into their first meeting with a divorce attorney, along with concerns that they will have to get on the stand to testify against their spouse or, even worse, that their children will have to testify. More often than not, however, this is not what happens.
Many times, parties can settle their case without going to trial. The first step is to outline the contested issues. You may discover that you and your spouse are actually on the same page about some things. If there are issues about which the parties disagree (and often there are!), the attorneys can begin negotiations and/or schedule mediation. In mediation, the parties meet with a neutral third party to work through all outstanding issues. The mediator can often help parties think creatively and come up with different options for settlement.
Parties should always attempt to settle issues related to their divorce without going to trial. Trials can be very lengthy and cost a lot of money – money that otherwise would have been divided between the parties. In addition, at trial, a judge (or jury) will tell both parties what the outcome will be (i.e. who will have custody, how much child support/alimony will be paid, how marital assets will be divided). Conversely, if you settle your case through mediation or otherwise, you have control over the outcome and always know your worst case scenario.