Divorce Litigation vs. Negotiation: Which Is Right For You?
The vast majority of separating couples are able to resolve issues of custody, support and property division through private settlement. Settlement is preferable in almost every case for any number of reasons. It is less costly, both financially and emotionally. Divorce — even without litigation — is already a major emotional stress on any family. The changes in family living arrangements alone usually cause temporary adjustment problems for most people. Many people feel overwhelmed by the litigation process that usually includes a burdensome discovery process of sharing written documents and answering written or oral questions, the selection and interviews of potential witnesses, and all the anxiety of formal court proceedings.
The cost of litigation can also be overwhelming. Litigation takes a lot of time and the billable hours add up quickly. With legal fees being charged at an hourly rate, litigation costs can spiral out of control long before the case is resolved, sometimes depleting the lion's share of the family's financial resources.
Just as important as minimizing emotional and financial stresses, settlement can be custom-tailored to a family's interests and needs in a way that may not occur should a court decide your case. A judge cannot possibly understand the details and intricacies of your family situation from the evidence allowed to be presented at trial. More importantly, judges are constrained by the statutes and rulings of higher courts in other cases and cannot impose the creative solutions that you, your spouse and your respective lawyers might devise to specifically suit your particular situation.
The settlement agreement is usually set forth in a contract, commonly referred to as a “Separation Agreement.” The layman's term “legal separation papers” usually refers to a Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement is a contract settling property division, custody, child support, visitation, alimony, tax issues, disclaimers and many other important matters that arise when couples separate. Proper drafting of the agreement by an experienced family law attorney like Rebecca Perry is essential to avoiding future disputes over the interpretation of agreement and to ensure enforceability of the terms.
If the parties are unable to resolve their issues by agreement, we are ready, willing and able to litigate on your behalf. Litigation is the process of taking a case to court. It involves filing a complaint and issuing a summons to initiate the lawsuit. Those documents must be properly served on the opposing party, and he or she is required to respond within a certain period of time. A period of “discovery” is then allowed for the parties to exchange relevant information. During this period there are sometimes pretrial conferences, motion hearings and other ancillary matters addressed by the court. Depending upon the issues involved, the complexity of the case, the court docket, and various other factors, it can take months or even years to fully litigate a case from start to finish. But even while litigation is proceeding, we continually work to try to reach a settlement to minimize the cost, bring about closure and help you move on to a better life.
At Camino Law, you will find thoughtful legal counsel and experienced representation designed to help you put your new life and restructured family on a solid legal footing.
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It is your marriage, your family and your future. It is our job to help you move forward wisely, not to increase the acrimony and convince you to fight. To discuss your options in a completely confidential consultation with an experienced North Carolina divorce and family law attorney, please call Camino Law today at 336-230-7359. You may also e-mail us now to schedule your consultation with Rebecca Perry.
Please continue reading for more information about legal separation in North Carolina.