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Though divorces are filed with the court, and technically are a lawsuit, they do not have to be litigated in front of a judge.  All divorces start with a petition process that is filed with the court, and all divorces end with a final decree.  That concluding decree is the most important document when it comes to the divorce, because it concludes the divorce.  The goal is to get to a fair and equitable decree without going to court unless all other avenues have been exhausted.

Reasons to Avoid Going to Court

1) Sharing Your Personal Business in Public

Whenever a celebrity files for divorce, the public quickly becomes aware of all the details of the personal events in their lives.  This is because documents filed with the court are generally considered public information.  Anything that you file with the court to argue your side of a situation could be broadcast to anyone and everyone.  A nosy neighbor can learn about your medical history, financial information, or even extramarital activities that are being disputed in court.

2) Privacy Risks

With COVID-19 concerns and limitation, many courts are doing Zoom hearings rather than cases being held physically in court.  This opens your marital details up to anyone who finds the link, or anyone who so much as accidentally mistypes a link to the meeting they were attempting to find.

What Can Help Avoid the Litigated Process?

Realistic cooperation.  A final decree consists of four main points: 1) conservatorship of minor children, or rights and duties (if applicable); 2) visitation of the children (if any); 3) child support (if ordered); 4) and dissolution of property.  Courts do not HAVE to be involved in this process.  If the separating couple can negotiate these aspects between themselves, the only involvement the judge has is to grant the divorce when it is agreed and presented.

Can’t the Court Just Make an Impartial Decision?

Not really.  The court does not know the particulars of your relationship, and no two cases are the same.  What a court decided for one situation will not necessarily be what they decide for yours.  A judge has not been there for the entirety of the relationship and can only go on what can be proven to the court.  Plus, not all facts are as obvious, or as important, to a judge as one might hope.  Asking a court to decide on a custodial parent has been compared to deciding if Michelangelo or DaVinci is the better painter – more subjective than objective.

By coming to an agreement outside of court, parties can better keep personal business private.  Avoiding court is easier than some might think, especially if both parties agree to work together for the best interests of each other and/or the children.  The Collaborative Divorce process helps couples to find those answers and includes a commitment to stay out of the courtroom.  Another option is for the couple to sit down together to reach an agreement and then ask an attorney to make sure that they have covered everything and to formally write the decree.

Staying out of court saves time and money.  While it is important to go to court if you have to, often the better practice is to work collaboratively or cooperatively for a personalized result.  To learn about more benefits of avoiding litigation, contact Julia Bancroft, PC, at 281-895-1885 to schedule a consultation.