In thinking about how to get a divorce, it is helpful to understand the issues about divorce court.

Frequently when couples are deciding to get a divorce, they threaten going to court. It is a common threat that often comes out of anger. “If you can’t agree to give me (XYZ) I’m going to take this to court!” And sometimes, the situation gets out of hand and couples do end up in court. If they do, generally it is not a good thing. In divorce court, nobody wins.

It is a myth to think that a judge will decide the “right” thing. Judges do not know the individual situations, the parents or the children. If a forensic evaluation is done, the child has to be put through an arduous experience, which may or may not ultimately be a helpful tool. But it guarentees to be a stressful. Judges do not generally want to deal with minor issues, which cause so much stress with couples. So, the lawyers fight it out. They trade one thing for another, regardless of feeleings that either of the parties have. The needs of the children are not necessarily taken into account as they threaten sole custody as a bargaining chip, even if the party does not want sole custody. I have seen this situation occur several times and the party who is sued for custody becomes enraged, and rightly so. And the divorce relationship becomes impossible to resolve. So whatever does happen, the ex-spouses are so furious with one another they can hardly be in the same room, and then they are expected to co-parent. Generally parents agree that they want their children to come out of the divorce whole, going to court is one way this will not happen!

Here are a few basics about divorce court:

Going to court is very expensive.

Going to court is very emotionally wrenching.

Going to court takes years and becomes the focus of peoples’ lives.

Going to court takes additional years to get over, so the individuals involved can heal

Going to court is a very bad idea!

Alternatives are mediation and collaborative law where professionals can work to amiably resolve issues with the conflictual couple to enable a positive outcome.