If you’re going through a Family Court case in Massachusetts, it is sometimes hard to determine the best way to handle what can sometimes be a contentious process. Is it best to fight tooth and nail, refusing to cave until you get your way and insisting that matters be taken to court? Or should you settle and try to reach an agreement through negotiation with the other side? Is that a surrender or can it instead be useful?
In light of the types of issues involved in family law cases, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. However, the following discussion will explore some of the reasons why settling a Family Court case can be beneficial for everyone involved. Issues of cost, control, and flexibility all impact why settlement can be a worthwhile approach and why it may in fact be the best route for many.
One of the most obvious reasons that settlement can be beneficial is cost. Trying a contested case in Family Court is an expensive process under even the best of circumstances. Virtually all of the best family law attorneys bill by the hour for their work, and it takes a great deal of time to gather evidence, prepare exhibits, meet with witnesses – in addition to actually trying the case. By settling the case before trial, you save huge amounts of time and similarly huge amounts of money.
Another reason why settlements can be helpful to parties is the control that comes with the process. By negotiating privately through your attorneys outside of Court, you and the other party can control what happens (and what doesn’t), as you control the agenda, the pace, and, ultimately, the outcome. When a case goes to trial, you have to be comfortable handing over total control to the Family Court judge who will now decide your case, and you must live with his/her decision whether you like it or not. This lack of control can be a real drawback to many litigants and a primary reason to pursue a negotiated settlement.
Finally, one often overlooked benefit of settlement is the increased flexibility that it provides you relative to the court process. In a settlement, parties can agree to things that a Massachusetts Family Court judge could never order. For example, you may also agree to allow one party a specific period of time to refinance the mortgage on the former marital residence. So, in a settlement, you have the flexibility to consider different options, including those that a judge would not ordinarily do.
Though settlement isn’t possible in every case, it is almost always worth pursuing. Even if you are not able to settle the whole case, you might be able to resolve some issues and narrow the scope of things that must be tried, which will save you time and money down the road.
An experienced attorney will know when it’s in your best interest to negotiate and when it makes sense to go to trial.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.