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Choosing the right divorce path, litigation or settlement?

Although most Washington residents are familiar with the concept of divorce, they should be mindful that actually experiencing divorce is far different from merely observing one. Each case is unique, and some divorces are contentious while others are relatively amicable and fairly simple.

Contentious divorces often involve substantial assets, properties and business holdings. These assets typically complicate property division, which may take months or even years to resolve. The willingness, cooperation and communication of both parties involved also is a factor in determining how long the divorce process will last. The whole process can end up in limbo until the agreement is complete and both parties sign.

However, not all divorce cases are finalized in court. One recent statistic shows that approximately 95 percent of divorces are settled out of court. This means that more spouses are choosing to settle their divorces outside court rather than go through litigation.

But just how should spouses determine whether to end their marriage through settlement or litigation? One expert says there are a few factors parting spouses should consider. One is the source of disagreement between both spouses. If the disagreement involves hidden assets or one parent getting sole custody, then litigation may be the best course. This applies, too, in situations when both spouses simply cannot agree on the basic facts of their disagreements. The expense and time needed in the trial also should be considered, along with the emotional impact that either route - settlement or litigation - may have on those involved.

Choosing whether to litigate or settle a divorce should be carefully considered. Whatever decision the spouses make will affect their lives after divorce. Fortunately, a lawyer can offer insights and expertise about both litigation and settlement that can help guide both spouses to the decision that suits them best.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Is It Best to Litigate or Settle?," Jeff Landers, May 22, 2014

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