It may go without saying, but the process of divorce can be frustrating and exhausting. The anger and resentment that divorcing parties may have towards each other may lead them to believe that a divorce will just be a simple process where one party quickly concedes under the weight of persuasive evidence and simply goes away quietly.
If only it were that simple.
Even when there are seemingly straightforward cases, divorce litigation is not for the faint of heart because of the keyword in the description “litigation.” The adversarial process, for all that it does to resolve a dispute, is not an easy process to endure. This post will highlight a few reasons why.
Litigation takes time – Forget everything about what you have seen in courtroom dramas. There’s no way that a contested divorce will be resolved in an hour or so. Litigation takes months, and sometimes years to resolve from the filing of an initial petition to final resolution.
Litigation creates bullies – Another side effect of the adversarial process. As we alluded to earlier, one party wants the other to simply go away quietly, and will attempt to intimidate and bully the other party into concession through threats and intimidation veiled through legalese.
Litigation takes off the rose-colored glasses – The purpose of litigation is to “lay bare the truth” so that the court can decide the case based on the facts and how the law applies to them. In the process, the litigants might finally see their own faults, which may be a good thing if it compels them to change or find a productive way to resolve their differences. But who they are as people will be exposed, and that is not always easy to endure.
The preceding is not meant to dissuade people from seeking legal remedies through divorce litigation. There are some situations where a dispute over how the law applies can only be resolved by challenging it in court. Nevertheless, it is important to understand the emotional and financial challenges that can come about through litigation so that you can make informed decisions about how to resolve a dispute.
If you have questions about whether other forms of dispute resolution (i.e. mediation, collaborative divorce) may be right for you, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.