“What is a divorce trial like?” “What happens at a custody trial?” These are questions we often get from our divorce and family law clients. A trial isn’t easy. In a divorce, child custody modification or other family law trial, the most important things in your life — your children and your financial security — are at stake.
The Benefit of Family Law Settlements
In a divorce or custody trial, the outcome is completely out of your hands — and ours. It’s in the hands of the judge. A settlement agreement, on the other hand, gives you a say in the outcome of your case. It is a chance for your voice to truly be heard — and for your wishes to be incorporated in the final court order that comes from the settlement agreement.
Sometimes a trial is necessary, but if the lawyer does her job well, those times can be relatively few in family law cases. Most often, a settlement is the best way for our clients to have a choice and a voice in deciding what’s best for their children and family.
That’s one of the reasons why, in most cases, the attorneys of Hightower Reff Law would rather reach a settlement than go to trial with your divorce or child custody case.
Making Good Settlement Decisions
While reasonable attorneys may differ regarding interpretation of the law, the best family law attorneys have a pretty good idea of what your chances of success are at trial and can help you understand what to expect at divorce trial or in a child custody trial.
At Hightower Reff Law, we counsel our clients about those things and give you the advice you need to make reasonable settlement decisions that give you a say in the outcome of your case and that are in the best interest of your children. We do this because it is part of advocating for you. Being in trial is hard on families. It is hard on our clients. It is all-consuming.
The Casualties of Trial
In a divorce or child custody modification trial, it’s our job to convince a judge or jury that our side should prevail, but there is never a guarantee. It is the other side’s job to point out how wrong we are about our client and our position. The other side often will bring up every little negative thing that our client has ever done and make it seem like the worst thing ever — and we will have to do the same to your soon to be ex-spouse or parent of your children.
A trial is never predictable, and it is not for the faint of heart. It can be a bloodbath that causes even more hard feelings than the parties already harbor for one another. It can also make for problems in co-parenting after divorce or once a trial for modification of custody is over.
In the end, the true casualties of the battle of trial are often the children because they can suffer when their parents harbor animosities for one another.
Your Peace of Mind
Although a trial is sometimes necessary in family law cases, through our years of experience as family law attorneys, we at Hightower Reff Law have found our clients are most satisfied with an agreed-upon outcome they help craft in mediation or settlement negotiations.
After all is said and done, when you reach a settlement agreement in your divorce, child custody or other family law case, you can walk away with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you stood up for your rights and the best interest of your children — without the lingering scars a trial can cause.
This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are unique from one another and it is impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts.