Three Signs Your Divorce Will End Up in Court

Although collaborative divorce, DIY divorce, and mediated divorce stand out as alternatives to taking your divorce to court, it's also true that in some situations only litigation will do the trick. If your situation is one of these, you'll have to plan to pay a lot of money and settle in for the long haul. Here are three signs that your relationship might be one of those that can only be ended by a court proceedings.

1. There's abuse in the family

If there has been any emotional, physical, or sexual abuse in a relationship, the two spouses will not be on equal footing, and it may be impossible for a mediator to help them work together to find a fair solution. In this situation, it's important for the victim to move to a safe place before filing for divorce and to take the children along as well. A court divorce is important in this case because it means a judge will be making the decisions, not you and your spouse.  

2. You and your spouse can't have a civil discussion

If you're the type of couple whose relationship has degenerated into an endless series of fights, and each time one of you tries to say something, the other takes offense, or if you have a hard time getting past your bickering to have a solid conversation, it's unlikely that you'll be able to come to a mutually agreeable conclusion while discussing divorce settlements. And the longer you bicker during a divorce mediation meeting or a meeting with your lawyers to discuss settlements, the more you'll have to pay those professionals for their time, which was spent fruitlessly trying to have a productive discussion.  

3. You have children or lots of illiquid assets

If you have minor children and see a custody battle on the horizon, DIY divorce or mediated divorce are unlikely to be able to head that battle off. And as for collaboration, you can probably kiss it goodbye now. Large assets that can't be easily split, such as a vacation home that's both immensely valuable and emotionally important to both of you, may present similar difficulties.   

These three issues can all get in the way of pulling off a non-litigated divorce. If you and your spouse are serious about breaking up without taking the matter to court, you may need some relationship counseling to help your interactions become profitable enough to get through the process. And remember, if your spouse has a history of abusing you, don't hesitate to move out and get behind the protection of a judge and lawyer by taking your divorce to court. And no matter which divorce method you choose, be sure to hire your own divorce attorney before starting divorce proceedings so you'll get the best legal advice and avoid sabotaging yourself.