This is the most common method people use to divorce. Some choose to litigate issues about which they do not care just to continue fighting with their former partner. It can be hard to let go of the hopes and dreams that both parties had for their marriage. 

Litigation Advantages

  • The court ultimately decides the issues so you do not have to convince your spouse, just the judge. This is an advantage and a disadvantage. While it can be nice to feel that you can leave the decisions up to an impartial judge, you may ultimately regret giving up that control especially when other processes allow you to maintain that control.
  • The structure of court provides ways to move the case through which can be very helpful when one party does not want the marriage to end or is just being difficult.
  • There are specific and concrete tools to collect information (discovery) with specific timelines for responses.
  • Some individuals simply will not act until a person in a black robe makes orders requiring them to act. For couples with at least one member in this category, litigation may be the only option for finalizing your divorce.
  • There are times reasonable minds disagree and the ability to find a solution that works for all cannot be found. In those situations the court may be the only way to get a final decision that everyone will respect and follow.

Litigation Disadvantages

  • When you choose to litigate your divorce, you become subject to the court and the court’s heavily impacted calendar. 
  • Once you ask the court to make the decision you will have very little say in the outcome of your case.
  • You may not get to present your full story. The same structures that guide the process and provide remedies also limits the evidence you may be permitted to present.
  • You will be working against your former partner in an adversarial manner, which can lead to escalating hostility and ongoing conflict even after the underlying divorce is complete.
  • It can be among the most expensive paths, if not the most expensive path to settling your divorce.
  • Even if you want the conflict to end, your spouse may not want that and may continue pursuing issues long after you wanted to quit. Your attorney cannot ignore legitimate issues raised by your spouse.
  • There is no place to address the feelings associated with the underlying conflict. The underlying conflict continues creating fertile ground for ongoing conflict.