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Graff & Associates, LLC - Family Law
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How to choose between litigation or a settlement

People in Pennsylvania who are getting a divorce may hope to reach an agreement on child custody and property division through negotiation. This can mean that they face a difficult dilemma if those negotiations falter and they must decide between taking a less satisfactory settlement or proceeding to litigation.

Litigation can be stressful, time-consuming and expensive. People may need to take time off work for court appearances, which are usually scheduled months in advance. In addition, attorneys might need information with very little notice, meaning people will have to stop what they are doing and provide it. The stress can take its toll on the relationship between the couple as well, potentially damaging a future co-parenting relationship. Stress could trickle down to children while costs may mount into five or even six figures.

However, there is one reason some people press on to litigation despite these drawbacks, and it is when they have a good case but the other spouse simply will not agree. Going to court might be the only way to get the outcome the person wants for property division or child custody, but it is not guaranteed. The person must be prepared to either accept the judge’s decision or to spend more time and money on appeals. A family law attorney may be able to advise regarding outcomes.

There may be situations in which people feel they have little or no choice but to go to litigation. This might be the case if one parent is concerned about the child’s safety with the other parent because of abuse or other issues. Another situation might be one in which the other spouse is hiding assets or is simply unwilling to divide assets equitably. Divorce may mean a decline in standards of living, and securing financial stability is often an important part of the agreement.