Divorce can quickly become a complicated event for everyone involved. Not only are there emotional losses, but the division of finances and property can make the process much more complicated than simply breaking up while dating.
All divorces are just as different as the relationships that happened before them, meaning there’s many ways your divorce could go. One thing is the same for all divorces, though, they are all legal procedures, just like your marriage. You need to fill out the proper forms and go through the procedures to finalize your divorce.
But do all divorces need to go to court? Is it necessary to have trials, witnesses, and evidence? While the exact needs of your divorce may vary, a court proceeding is not necessary for a divorce to occur. In fact, many divorces go through without ever standing before a judge to resolve issues. However, some issues won’t have an easy resolution and a divorce trial will be necessary.
You may need to go to court for a divorce when there are legal disputes over central issues in divorce. Most often, these issues revolve around fair division of assets. Many soon-to-be divorced couples disagree about ways to handle children, real estate ownership, and situations where one spouse has been out of the work force.
Child custody, child support, division of marital property, alimony, and spousal support are all potential points of disagreement that may require a judge to resolve. When you do head to court for a divorce trial, you will need evidence and witnesses to help support your case.
Divorce proceedings can involve extensive and heated arguments. Instead of attending a divorce trial, you can choose mediation. An impartial mediator can help decide contested divorce fees without going to court. Decisions by the mediator are not necessarily final, but they can provide a guideline for further discussions and agreements.
If you are concerned about filing fees and court costs, using mediation to solve your divorce disputes can help you avoid potential costs. You still need to pay for mediation services, but the total is often a fraction of court fees.
Couples can consider collaborative divorces, which encourage the divorcing couple to work together to solve issues before appearing in court. In such divorces, you will still hire an attorney, but the negotiations process is much less ambivalent than taking the case to court. The open lines of communication help reduce potential arguments and further divorce issues.
For couples who can agree on the terms of divorce, there is often no need to appear in court at all. This is known as an uncontested divorce. If you want to avoid a divorce trial, you should discuss issues with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and see if you can come to an agreement on the basic terms. Be willing to negotiate with each other calmly, and you may prevent the need for outside intervention.
Alternate divorce resolutions allow for the divorcing couple to play a more active role in key decisions, instead of leaving them entirely up to a judge’s ruling. They also tend to cost less and create a less antagonistic atmosphere.
Even if you do not need a trial to decide the terms of your divorce, you will still need to submit documents to complete the process. As long as your divorce agreement has reasonable terms, a court will likely sign off on it without any further complications.
You do not want to ignore divorce filings under any circumstances. No matter what method for resolution your divorce proceedings take, it is important to consult an experienced divorce attorney. A lawyer can help you understand the terms of your divorce, advise you on proper actions to take, and help you file.