Settling is a word that we do not immediately associate with positive things. We look for better jobs or struggle to find a soulmate because we do not want to settle. And while that is perfectly fine in other areas in life, it might not be applicable to your Alabama divorce process.

I’d like to take some time to clear out that every single case is different and that there are some in which mediation is not possible and could even be dangerous. Cases in which going to court is the best option.

Sometimes the relationship between people becomes so broken that they are unable to reconcile on anything. Whether it’s because of disputes over high-value property or simply because the divorcing parties find compromise impossible, it can become necessary to get a courtroom and a judge involved.

There seems to be a common misconception going around when people want to go to court on their divorce: that is, that a judge will be fair to you and that she or he will listen to your grievances. Right off the bat, it’s necessary to clarify that judges handle a lot of cases and do not have time to get to know both parties. With the court’s calendar, it’s likely a judge will not be able to listen to both parties, or bring you the outcome you’d like.

I would say, if mediation is at hand and both parties are willing enough to go through the process, settling might be beneficial for both spouses. Here’s why:

Benefits Of Settling On Your Divorce

You’ll Get A Much Faster Divorce Process

Forbes points out that if you decide to go to court your trial will be scheduled according to the court’s calendar, which may mean months of waiting. You’re likely to spend more time with your attorney, too, preparing for each trial appearance day. Then there are the appearances themselves, for which you will likely have to take time off of work.

Going Through Mediation Will Allow You To Finalize The Process A Lot Sooner

It’s important to know, that if both sides are unwilling to compromise, animosities are a bit high and negotiations become fruitless, indeed preparing for court and having a trial might be a lot faster.

It Will Be Cheaper

You normally pay for the time you and your lawyer spend preparing for court. You will also need to pay for having time and space in court. In a trial setting, lawyer fees, court costs, and other expenses can add up very quickly. The cost for executing a settlement agreement before trial is generally much lower.

There Will Be Less Stress For Everyone Involved

Being on and preparing for trial can be stressful. Even more, if you have kids. You’ll need to sort out your work-life balance by preparing for court and getting your lawyer every bit of information he or she might need, etc.

If you can settle with your spouse for an arrangement that benefits both or can make some compromises, you will be a lot less stressed in the process.

You’ll Potentially Have More Control Over The Outcome Of Your Divorce

Even if you believe that you have a strong case to receive more than 50% of your shared assets which you obtained as a couple, if you end up in court, there is no guarantee that the presiding judge will rule in your favor. So if you don’t want to leave your financial future up to a stranger, whose decision you won’t be able to predict, it may be a wiser decision to try and negotiate a divorce contract with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

If you’re concerned about reaching a divorce agreement with your ex-partner, keep in mind that you’ll also have your legal representative, and a mediator on hand to help you reach an amicable conclusion. Remember that before you go through the mediation process, you’ll be able to talk to your divorce attorney about your desired outcomes and key goals for your mediation sessions.

For example, your number one goal may be to ensure that you have sole custody or joint custody of the children that you share. Alternatively, ensure that you are granted 50% of your shared property or of your shared business may be your primary goal.

You’ll even be able to draft up divorce agreements which are more unusual. For example, you may want 100% ownership of your primary residence, while your ex-partner may be willing to give you full ownership of your primary residence if you are willing to give them 100% of the business which you owned and operated together.

So if you are open to negotiating, in order to ensure that you get what you value most, from your upcoming divorce, mediation and settling your divorce without a divorce judge, is an option that is well worth considering.

You’ll Be Able To Spend The Money Which You Save On Your New Life

Not only will both you and your partner get to keep a higher percentage of your assets, by settling out of court but you’ll also be able to use the money which you save to restart your life. For example, you may want to put the money which you save on court-related expenses towards putting a deposit on a new home for yourself and your children if you are a parent. Or you may want to put the money which you save towards your children’s college fund.

You may even be interested in using the money which you save to launch a new business or to go back to school, to retrain to pursue a new career path. The options are endless.

So, if there are expenses that you would rather use your money on than your divorce, it may be a wise idea to try to settle your divorce outside of court. As the process of taking your divorce case to court can be extremely expensive.

It May Be The Best Option If You Want To Co-Parent Your Kids

If you share a child or multiple kids with your ex-partner and are both keen to share custody of your children, settling your divorce without going to court may be a wise decision. As if you are able to agree on the terms of your divorce, such as the split of your assets and your custody agreement outside of court, your divorce will have less of an adverse effect on your children. As you won’t need to spend countless months fighting your ex-spouse in court.

Which is an experience that your children are likely to find distressing. Especially if they are close to both of you and are likely to find their parents going through a difficult court hearing challenging.

Also keep in mind that if you are able to finalize your divorce through mediation and both you and your former partner feel as if they are getting a fair deal, you’re more likely to salvage a civil relationship which will be useful when it comes to co-parenting your kids.

As if you don’t go through a nasty divorce, you’ll be more likely to retain a healthy, open line of communication which will be useful when it comes to co-parenting your kids. As you’ll be able to discuss key parenting issues together such as what time your kids should go to sleep and what time their curfew is when they get older.

As kids and teens, both require stability in their lives and if they are required to follow the same set of rules at each of your homes, they will feel a sense of normality and stability as they transition back and forth between your homes.

You’ll Be Able To Keep The Sensitive Details Of Your Divorce Private

Another reason why you may want to settle outside of court is that if you end up going to court, the details of your court hearing will be made public, following the conclusion of your divorce. Once there is a conclusion to your case, the details of your case will become a public record.

This means that anyone, including your colleagues, family members, and friends will be able to easily look up the records associated with your case.

So if you’re a private person or are embarrassed about some of the details of your divorce, it may be worthwhile settling your divorce outside of a divorce court. For example, if your spouse cheated on you or you were unfaithful to your spouse, you may not be comfortable with this knowledge becoming public. You may also want to settle outside of court if you don’t want individuals to find out what assets you were awarded as part of your divorce and prefer to keep financial matters private.

You’ll Be Able To Emotionally Heal From Your Divorce Sooner

As talking about the demise of your long-term relationship is likely to be an uncomfortable, challenging experience, the sooner that you’re able to finalize your divorce, the sooner that you’ll be able to move on from your divorce. Whereas if you were to go through the lengthy process of going to court to sort out your divorce, the judge and your ex-partner’s lawyer would force you to confront the nitty-gritty details of your divorce, over a long period of time.

Even being forced to see the individual who was the love of your life for a long period of time, may make it extremely difficult to forgive them and to move on with your life. So, if you think that finalizing your divorce as soon as possible, will help you to emotionally recover through the trauma of going through a divorce, you may want to settle your divorce quickly.

Particularly if you don’t share any children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse and will not be required to communicate with your ex-partner, on an ongoing basis. The easiest way to get over someone who you thought that you would grow old with, is to avoid all contact with them. Spending time around a former flame or even talking about a former love can bring up memories that may be difficult to deal with.

You’ll Be Able To Remarry Sooner

If you are already in a new, committed relationship and have your heart set on marrying your new partner in the near future, if you settle your divorce out of court, your divorce will be finalized sooner. Which will allow you to remarry your new partner sooner than if you were to go to court, in order to settle your divorce.

It’s even more critical to have your current marriage legally dissolved if you want to marry a foreigner and wish to bring them into the country using a 90 day K1 fiance visa. As you won’t be able to sponsor a foreign fiance if you are still legally married to your current spouse.

The Benefits Of Going To Court

To Fight For Full Custody Of Your Children

If you know that your ex-partner is unfit to parent your children or maybe a danger to your children, it may be worth going to court in order to fight for full custody of your children.

To Fight For The Ownership Of A Business

If you were primarily responsible for building a business from the ground up and have evidence that backs up your claim, a divorce judge may be willing to grant you more than 50% of the ownership of your business. Which may make it easier for you to pay your ex-spouse out of your business and to take full control of the business that you poured your heart and soul into and made a success.

Your Separation Was Not Civil

If your soon-to-be ex-spouse did not take your decision to file for divorce well and you’re not on speaking terms, trying to negotiate the terms of your divorce outside of a divorce court may be a fruitless endeavor. Especially if your ex-partner resulted in name-calling or threatening you.

Your Ex-Partner Wants To Leave You With Nothing

If your former partner has made it clear that they intend to take as much of your shared assets as possible, it’s a pretty clear sign that they won’t be open to compromising and have no interest in negotiating a deal that is mutually beneficial. In this circumstance, the best action that you can do is to seek legal representation in order to fight for your share of the assets which you accumulated with your former partner during your marriage.

You Don’t Have A Prenup

If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, going to court may allow you to retain the assets which you acquired prior to your wedding. Such as property.

It’s always important to contemplate that not all divorces in Alabama can be settled and that you will probably need a good team to help you determine this.

If you’re located in Alabama, we can help you. Give us a call and we’ll fight for the best outcome: 256-804-0084.

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    About The Author

    Charlotte Christian, Esq. is a family and divorce lawyer and founder of Charlotte Christian Law. Born and raised in the Yellowhammer State she still calls home, Charlotte is committed to helping those who experienced loss overcome their hardships and build a new life, stronger and more resilient than they were before. No stranger to trauma herself, including enduring the sudden losses of her father while a young child and husband after 10 years of marriage, Charlotte knows what it means practically and legally to put the pieces in place to create a future filled with security, hope, and opportunity, and find happiness once again. An avid sports fan, you can find Charlotte supporting SEC Athletics.