i.e., going to court - Trial
In most cases: (1) litigation is extremely stressful due to its adversarial nature, (2) control over the outcome is largely relinquished, and (3) it is costly. Moreover, if the facts of the case are not presented in a comprehensible and organized manner, it will likely make it difficult for the court to make a "fair" decision.
If you are heading to court, it is crucial that you have a lawyer representing you so that you ensure that your legal interests are protected.
i.e., settling outside of court
There are various methods that we can use in order to reach a settlement outside of court.
Negotiation is inherent throughout all aspects of a family law dispute. Negotiation takes place during mediations, arbitrations, and at up all points leading up to and even during the lunch break of a trial.
The rules of court are structured to require lawyers to negotiate prior to proceeding to trial. This is for good reason - in general, you are better served if you exercise control over the outcome.
Collaborative Law refers to when the parties and their respective lawyers voluntarily sign an agreement that binds the parties to the process of reaching a settlement outside of court. The agreement provides for that in the event that the negotiations reach an impasse and litigation appears imminent, the lawyers participating in the process are disqualified from representing either of the parties in court.
Mediation is a settlement meeting with the assistance of an impartial person who helps facilitate the parties to explore their own solution that meets their needs. In most cases, the mediator will not issue decisions, or even offer suggestions.
Proceeding to arbitration is similar to proceeding to court, with some important differences. The arbitrator is an impartial person who has the authority to issue decisions, which means that the arbitrator can make orders akin to what a judge can. Arbitration is generally less formal. For instance, the rules of evidence and the rules of court may not be rigidly adhered to.
The main advantages with proceeding with arbitration are brevity and control. It is usually faster to reach a solution by using arbitration. In addition, the parties can control decisions such as who the arbitrator is.
A successful settlement will typically result in the drafting of a separation agreement.
Learn more about agreements