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4 realities of litigating a divorce that you should understand

If you are considering divorce or have already decided to divorce, then you may be scared, angry and anxious. These emotions are undoubtedly painful and they can make you feel defensive and ready to fight your way to a resolution.

People who are feeling this way as they head into a divorce often assume that litigation is the only and best option to get what they want. Before deciding on a course of action, there are some realities about litigation that you should be aware before making any decisions about how to resolve divorce-related matters.

  • It can be expensive. Litigation is typically a more expensive process than out-of-court options like mediation. There can be added costs and fees, especially if your case moves through the system slowly, so it is important to prepare for the time, energy and money you may spend on the process.
  • It may not feel as satisfying as you expect. In the heat of a divorce, it can feel like a win in court will give you the gratification you are looking for. However, as this Huffington Post article notes, the process doesn't always go the way you want or expect. Further, fighting can take a toll on you emotionally and begin to affect your personal relationships, including those with your children. 
  • You could still end up in mediation. Most people resolve at least some aspects of their divorce in mediation-like settlement conferences, whether they choose to do so or the courts order them to.  Very rarely are divorcing spouses able to obtain a hearing on their divorce issues immediately.
  • The outcome is out of your hands. In mediation and other alternative dispute resolution processes, parties work together to resolve issues that address the needs of both parties. In court, parties build their own cases and let a third party make decisions. Where a third party is making decisions for you and your spouse, the likelihood that you will get everything you want is low.

Understanding these and other realities about litigating a divorce in Pennsylvania can help you assess your options during this difficult time. For information and guidance specific to your individual case, you should consult an attorney.

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