Why Settle?; Even When it is Over it isn’t Over.
One of the reasons I became a divorce lawyer was my love of the courtroom. I was in the theater, I interned for a news channel, and I am even in a band. I find that the courtroom presents a unique opportunity for an attorney to advocate on behalf of his or her client regarding incredibly important issues. The lawyer in a courtroom has to take years of issues into consideration and articulate them all in a precise and reasonable argument. That said, after more than 18 years of practice, with a focus on family law, I can tell you, if you can settle your case reasonably and fairly, I recommend it.
The emotional damage that is done, not to mention the incredible expense, if you end up appearing before a judge is very deep. Things are said that cannot be taken back, money is spent that depletes your financial well-being, and it all occurs not in a private arena, but a very public one. Court pleadings, your finances, your parenting issues, and many other aspects of your life are open for the public to view.
On the other hand, with resolution outside of the courtroom, you can be more creative. A judge, while in an elected or appointed position, is confined to the information provided to them and the limited options the law permits. It is not always the best option to leave life decisions to a judge who has limited time to hear all the issues and does not know you personally. In a negotiation or mediation, however, parties and attorneys are limited only by their creativity and ability to think outside of the box. This is a reason I love being a mediator as well.
Settlement is the way, when possible (and I recognize it isn’t always possible), to resolve a case. At the end of the day, clients should remember that a former husband and a former wife will always be a part of one another’s lives in some respect – especially if children are involved.