How Do I Keep My Divorce Out Of Court?
Today, the sheer volume of divorces has made litigation the least favorable option. When divorce was rarer, almost all divorces were litigated on the basis of fault. In fact, you needed to establish fault in order to pursue a divorce. This left some couples in the position of making accusations just to exit a marriage they did not want to be in. All states have since moved toward no-fault divorces and only a handful allow couples to pursue fault-based divorces.
For that reason and many more, the majority of divorces are handled outside of the courtroom to the extent possible. This leaves the power in the hands of the spouses to decide how their finances will be split, and it prevents the assets from passing through probate which is a matter of public record. It is also significantly cheaper to avoid litigation. So, in most cases, it won’t be difficult to avoid the court if you so choose.
When can I not avoid court?
Essentially, the law figures that two adults can reach an agreement on their finances. So, couples who can come up with an agreement on their own will have that agreement rubber-stamped by the court. The only exception is when there are children involved. While the court allows parents to make custody arrangements and visitation schedules, it will also review any decisions to determine if the solution is in the best interests of the children.
Under American law, each attorney is required to represent the interests of their client, the spouse. They have no duty of care to the children. Instead, a guardian ad litem is assigned the case and advocates on behalf of the children. The guardian ad litem and the court can void any agreement that is not in the children’s best interests. So, ultimately, there will be a hearing for custody matters.
Not all divorcing partners are in a position to negotiate a settlement. In some cases, the court must intervene because the allegations are severe or the parents are so embittered that they cannot reach an accord. In that case, litigation is the only option and the spouses have little choice but to ask a judge to rule on the matter.
Litigation is the costliest option, it will take the longest, and you will lose control over the ultimate decisions made by the court. So, in most cases, even spouses that can’t see eye-to-eye will avoid litigation when possible.
When mediation isn’t working, there is another option for a collaborative divorce that sometimes proves effective when both parents want to work together in principle but are struggling to see matters objectively.
Talk to a Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Today
Philadelphia family lawyer Lauren H. Kane represents the interests of residents seeking a divorce. Call today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your next moves immediately.