There’s light at the end of the tunnel in every litigated divorce. In our previous blog, we reviewed the Discovery process and Status Conferences which attempt to resolve thorny issues and reach a settlement. This is an overview of the final steps in the process.
Settlement or Trial?
It is important to remember that most divorce cases end with the parties reaching an agreed upon settlement which divides all of your property and debt and a parenting plan which explains custody and support arrangements for your former spouse and your children.
While the case is pending, depending on the issues at hand, your attorney will likely discuss making a settlement offer or engaging in a meeting with the other side to discuss settlement. As your case moves forward, your attorney will discuss the settlement process and whether a trial or settlement is likely.
Circumstances may arise that can prevent or delay settlement which are outside the control of your attorney. Parties expend a lot of energy during divorce litigation. Emotions run high, and so do fees. Sometimes one party has unrealistic expectations. Sometimes reasonable offers for settlement are rejected outright.
If settlement is not possible, a trial will address some or all of the issues. Both you and your spouse will present evidence, including documents and testimony, supporting your respective positions. In a divorce trial – the judge is the decision-maker. After the conclusion of the evidence, the case will close and the Judge will issue the divorce decree (judgment) ruling on the issues. However, the issuance of this decree is not immediate and sometimes it can take many months for the court to issue a judgment after a trial.
If you and your spouse reach a settlement, those agreed upon terms will be set forth into documents which are then incorporated into your divorce decree – formally known as “Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.”
Family law cases are fact intensive. What is considered a fair settlement for some may not be so for others. We make every effort to help each client achieve his or her goals and take important steps to ensure that our clients retain control over the process whenever possible and feel informed as the litigation process moves forward. If you’re just starting the process, be sure to check out our earlier blogs on litigated divorce.
With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. For questions or to schedule a confidential consultation, call 314-449-8830.