Going to court for a divorce may seem like a given. Some divorces are contentious and require a judge to litigate the problems. If you and your spouse can resolve your differences and agree on the dissolution of your marriage, do you have to go to court?
Some states will require a court appearance before a judge to finalize the paperwork. If you and your spouse have made a reasonable agreement, it might only take a few minutes in the courtroom. Other states let you file the agreement with the court. The judge reviews the settlement and issues a final judgment without your appearance. You get the final documents in the mail.
Divorce Related Issues To Resolve
Dissolving a marriage can be complex. You and your spouse have to determine who gets which assets and debts. The marriage home may have to be sold. You may have to discuss life insurance benefits, retirement accounts, and business-related assets. If children are involved, then child custody, support, and visitation will have to be worked out. In some marriages, spousal support may be an issue. A family lawyer can help you formalize any agreements if you and your spouse can work things out on your own.
Options to Resolve Disagreements
If you and your spouse are having problems working out issues in your divorce, you don’t necessarily need to go before a judge. Many couples use mediation to reach a settlement. Mediators are trained professionals who can help you work out your differences out of court. Attorneys aren’t required, but you can still consult with an attorney before you submit any documentation to the court.
Some couples use divorce arbitration to settle differences. The arbitrator adjudicates the matter much like a judge would. You and your spouse agree to the arbitrator and can often choose the person. You can’t choose your judge. Generally, the rules of arbitration are a little more relaxed. You can also set the date and time of your sessions, which is a benefit over appearing before a judge. However, arbitration is binding and final. You do have to pay your arbitrator. But if you and your spouse are having a hard time agreeing, even with attorneys and mediators, an arbitrator can be a good choice.
Consult With an Attorney
Chances are that the court will have to be involved with your divorce, but it depends on the laws in your state. A family lawyer can help you make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities for your divorce and will guide you through the process effectively. You should consult with an experienced attorney before you sign contracts dissolving your marriage.