North Carolina couples who are getting a divorce may initially hope to reach an agreement on property division and child custody through negotiation. However, in some cases, they may be struggling to agree, or one spouse may simply be uncooperative. The decision of whether to settle or go to court can be a difficult one.
Settling may be the right choice for people who are short on time or money. Litigation can take months or more than a year. In addition to the preparation time, court dates tend to be set months in advance. It also tends to be much more costly than reaching an agreement through negotiation.
Litigation can also cause a great deal of stress. Many people do not realize that going to court means they will essentially be “on call” throughout the process and may need to drop whatever they are doing to provide information for their attorneys without delay. Litigation can be hard on children and worsen the relationship between their parents, which can make co-parenting after the divorce even more difficult. On the other hand, litigation may be the only option for people who have a good case but who cannot get a spouse to cooperate. An attorney may offer assistance in weighing the strength of the case against a settlement offer.
One thing people may want to keep in mind throughout the process is that it is important to protect themselves financially in a divorce. While some people may want to get the process over with quickly, each spouse also has certain rights, and an attorney may be able to help a client understand what those rights are. For example, a lower-earning spouse may be owed alimony as well as child support.