When Maryland couples decide to divorce, they may be unsure how best to proceed. Couples who have made the decision amicably may be able to resolve almost everything between themselves, but those who have more contentious situations may find themselves arguing every time they attempt to discuss the situation. Some spouses may find that most of their disputes revolve around financial matters, while others may struggle with child custody questions. Each spouse may need to consider whether it is better for their case to seek a negotiated settlement or move forward to a trial.
In many cases, judges will strongly encourage people to seek a settlement. A negotiated settlement does not mean that the spouses just need to hammer out an agreement. The parties’ respective attorneys may be an important part of the process, seeking mutually accepted terms on key issues like parenting plans and asset division. A negotiated settlement can shave months of time off a divorce timeline, especially given the delays and time demands placed on the family courts. For people who want to finalize the end of their marriage quickly, this can make settlement an appealing option.
Of course, a longer, more complex divorce is also often more costly. Going to trial may require many more hours of legal work, expert witnesses and court costs, so people who want to save may prefer to settle. On the other hand, people dealing with an intransigent or abusive spouse who refuses to compromise on key issues may feel compelled to move toward trial.
Negotiating a divorce settlement or going to trial is a personal decision. A family law attorney may provide strategic advice on how clients may best achieve their goals.