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Deciding whether to settle or go to trial

When couples are considering divorce, settling matters themselves may seem like the most logical and amicable solution. However, there may be times when going to trial is unavoidable. Couples in Virginia who are unwilling or unable to reach an agreement, whether over assets or child custody, may have to leave the decision in the hands of a family court judge.

In most cases, going to trial is more expensive than settling out of court. Trials can take a long time, often a year or more. During that time, the stress of dealing with the demands of the trial while working and taking care of a family can be overwhelming. In addition, they are usually more expensive, with child custody and family law cases frequently racking up bills in the tens of thousands of dollars. Attorneys’ fees and court costs can accumulate quickly. However, in cases of a contested divorce, annulment, complex property issues, or any sticking point that one party is completely unwilling to compromise on, continuing to pursue fruitless negotiations may end up being more costly and time-consuming than going to trial.

In cases of domestic violence, paternity matters, or adoption, negotiation may not even be an option, as there may be no middle ground. Cases involving prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements, on the other hand, may seem ironclad at first but may have issues that can still be contested.

In most family law disputes, even an uncontested divorce, it is important to look at all options before deciding on the best course of action. An attorney who has experience with family law cases may be able to advise someone who is going through a divorce about the best way to handle a case, whether that involves trying to negotiate or going to trial.

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