Some states require that the parties attempt to settle their divorce case through mediation prior to bringing the action to court. Unfortunately, Arizona does not require working toward settlement before coming to court, and often, there are thousands of cases filed with the courts that backlog the system and ultimately delays the process significantly.
However, just because it is not required, does not mean that it is unimportant. Engaging in settlement may be one of the most important parts of your divorce, and here are the top five reasons why:
You control the outcome of your case. When you engage in settlement with your ex, you are able to control what is important to you and what may end up in your final divorce decree. Keep in mind that there will be a little give and take on certain issues, but ultimately, the decree will be your decision.
You can save thousands of dollars. Divorce is expensive. VERY expensive, especially when you hire an attorney. Divorces can range from the low thousands to above $100,000 depending on the issues in your case. The most expensive part of your case is almost always going to trial. Trials require hours of preparation, as well as can be up to three days long.
Divorces can take a very long time. If you plan on going to trial, do not expect your divorce to be completed within two months. This almost NEVER happens. The courts are so crowded right now, that a trial may not be scheduled for several months out. Additionally, the court may require you to take several steps before they even consider setting the trial date. You could be looking at a year to even longer to be completed if you go to trial.
You and your spouse may not be happy with the decision a judge makes. If you go to trial, you are presenting your case to a judge who has met you maybe two or three times before. You will have a limited amount of time to present your case, and you may not have all of the evidence you need. In the end, the judge may end up making a ruling that neither your or your spouse are happy with. This is extremely common in spousal maintenance and property issues. If you settle, you know the exact outcome.
Hostility will be reduced between you and your spouse. Divorces can bring out the worst in you and your spouse. If you go to trial, it is even more likely that you and your spouse will be spiteful towards each other. If you have children with your spouse, keeping hostility limited will be extremely beneficial for the children. By settling, you are setting an example for your children that you and their other parent can still get along with each other. Additionally, you and your spouse will not be as angry at each other. This will ultimately make co-parenting better for both parties.
Be sure to talk to an experienced attorney about your options regarding settlement. They will advise you of the best route to take and when settlement should begin with your spouse.