When Is Divorce Litigation the Best Option for Long Island Families?
A litigated divorce is the type of divorce most often seen in the media; those long, drawn-out court battles “to the death” that cost a fortune and end up tearing the family apart. Most divorce litigation cases aren’t dramatic, drawn out and expensive as those you see in the news, however, they do usually take longer and therefore cost more than other Long Island divorce options like divorce mediation, collaborative divorce or arbitration. Before deciding to litigate your divorce, it’s important you understand what this will entail to ensure it’s the right choice for you and your family. Here’s what you should know.
A Quick Review of Long Island Divorce Litigation Basics
There are generally two primary types of divorces; contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce simply means that you and your ex-spouse not only agree on the divorce itself but also the various related matters. A contested divorce means the opposite. In a contested divorce, you and your ex-spouse don’t agree on some or all of the issues related to the divorce and you’re unable to resolve them on your own. In this case, litigation may be necessary and a judge will make a decision for you.
Common Divorce Scenarios that Lead to Litigation
Any disagreement on how to resolve your divorce can result in litigation, however, the most common reasons litigation is pursued are when the parties are unable to agree on:
- How property should be divided
- If alimony or spousal maintenance should be paid
- Who is responsible for paying joint debt
- Who should get custody or how much visitation time the non-custodial parent should have
- The safety of the child with the other parent
- What type of medical treatment a child should get, particularly in cases of special needs children
- What school the child should go to or if the child should be enrolled in sports or other extracurricular activities
Ideally, you and your ex-spouse should attempt to reach a compromise on these or other matters before pursuing divorce litigation in Long Island courts. While you can seek litigation after failed divorce mediation, it’s much harder to do the reverse; once you’ve started litigating your divorce, it’s not as practical to pull back and try to mediate.
If you and your ex-spouse simply cannot stand to be in the same room together or cannot communicate without arguing or becoming upset, it may mitigate some stress to simply pursue litigation first. Consider the unique needs of your family and remember that while it’s often quicker and cheaper to mediation, it’s not the right solution for every couple.
Signs You Should Discuss Divorce Litigation with Your Lawyer
Just because your divorce is difficult doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to litigate it. The term “uncontested” often gives the misconception that non-litigated divorces are easy and that simply isn’t the case. They are often faster and cheaper than litigation, but not necessarily easier. Don’t base your decision to pursue divorce litigation on how emotionally difficult it is to go through the process; instead, focus on these signs that divorce litigation may be in your best interest:
- Your ex-spouse refuses to compromise with you on any matter out of spite
- Your ex-spouse is harassing you
- Your child has reported abuse or neglect when in your ex-spouse’s custody
- You have been abused or mistreated by your ex-spouse
- Your child is old enough to influence a custody decision
- Your ex-spouse is hiding marital assets from you or denying you entrance to your shared property
- Your ex-spouse is taking money from your joint accounts
- You have a high-net-worth divorce
If any of the above applies to you, it’s important that you consult with an experienced divorce attorney regarding the pros and cons of a divorce trial in your circumstances.
Contact Our Experienced Long Island Divorce Law Firm Today
Litigation isn’t a death sentence for your divorce. It can be challenging and time-consuming, but in many cases, it can help you achieve the best possible outcome. It’s difficult to know at the start of your divorce whether litigation will be the right choice. You may think you can have an uncontested divorce, only to find out you have less agreement with your spouse than you though. The situation can get heated when you and your ex-spouse are unable to agree on things and you eventually wind up in court. Get the guidance of one of our seasoned Long Island divorce lawyers today by calling 631-923-1910 for a free divorce consultation and case evaluation.
See this page for Your Guide to Preparing for a Contested Divorce.
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