Why is Keeping Your Divorce Out of Court a Good Idea?
- You will save money. Going to court is expensive, particularly if you are unsuccessful as you may have to pay the other side’s expenses.
- You will reduce stress for you and your children.
- You will save time. Divorce can take many months (even years) when the action is defended.
- You might stop an already difficult relationship with your ex from getting more difficult.
- Order of court is usually a form of compromise and neither party is 100% happy.
Is Keeping Your Divorce Out of Court Possible?
If you use the simplified procedure for divorce you will most likely not have to attend court. You can do this if you have been separated for either one or two years and you have no children under 16.
If you do have children under the age of 16 you must apply to the court through the ordinary procedure. However, if financial matters and everything relating to the children are agreed there will probably not be any hearings at court.
If you don’t have agreement, or you are seeking divorce on the ground of adultery or unreasonable behaviour, then here are my five top tips to keep your divorce out of court.
Keeping Your Divorce Out of Court: 5 Top Tips
1. Prioritise what you need or want from the divorce
Be clear at the outset about your priorities. If your solicitor and the other party are clear on what you want, and why, negotiations will be much more straightforward. It will also make it quick to work out if the dispute can be resolved or if court is the only option, and that will save you money.
Try to rise above the petty squabbles that are part and parcel of divorce. If you let the small issues dominate discussions, you are unlikely to be able to resolve the larger issues.
2. Be respectful
Remember that you may be ready to move on from the relationship, but the other person may be still hurting and in a different place emotionally from you. Approaching them in the right way may mean they are more likely to engage than try to pretend the divorce is not happening.
An aggressive letter threatening court action is not always effective!
3. Be realistic
The majority of financial divorces are split 50/50. If you have a strong argument for a different share then of course you should pursue it. However, if you simply want to stop the other person having a fair share you are unlikely to be successful. You may be found liable for their court costs too.
4. Don’t go to court to prove a point
While a person’s behaviour may be the cause of your divorce it will not impact the way the court deals with the financial matters. There is very little vindication to be found in court. A decree of divorce doesn’t have the ground of divorce on it and nobody outwith the marriage will know why your marriage broke down.
5. Take advice
Listen to your solicitor. They know the Sheriffs and the court process, and they are best placed to try and save you time, money and disappointment.
You might also be interested to:
- Read our webpage on different options for dispute resolution: How Can I Resolve My Dispute?
- Watch our Head of Family Law, Fiona Rasmusen, run through her Five Top Tips on How To Divorce Well.
- 7 Things You Need to Know About Divorce in Scotland
- 31 Questions to Ask Your Divorce Lawyer