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Deciding between litigation or negotiation in a divorce

Some people in Illinois may face a difficult decision during a divorce between accepting a less-than-satisfactory settlement or continuing to pursue their asset division or custody demands in court. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.

In general, litigation costs more and takes longer than negotiating a settlement. People should be sure they are prepared and able to pay the additional costs of going to court. They should also be aware that court dates are likely to be set months out, and attorneys also need time to prepare a case. While it might be better to stay with negotiations to try to wrap up the divorce quickly, if agreement simply does not seem possible, people may want to move on to litigation to avoid wasting any more time in futile attempts to negotiate.

People should also be aware that litigation can be much more stressful than negotiating. This can affect not just the couple but their children as well. There may be times when attorneys need information immediately, and this can mean dropping everything to provide it. However, litigation may still be worthwhile for individuals who have a strong case but who cannot get their spouse to cooperate. Litigation may give them a better outcome than a settlement through negotiation would.

An attorney may be able to help a person determine when it might be time to give litigation a try. An attorney might also be able to help a person anticipate what may happen during negotiation or litigation. Attorneys can explain a person’s rights in a divorce and assist a person throughout the process. It may be particularly important for people to understand their rights to shared property. For example, a person may be entitled to part of a spouse’s retirement account despite not having made contributions to it.