1. Monetary Expense: Inexpensive litigation does not exist. Every stage of the proceeding is costly. In addition to attorney's fees, there are expert fees, filing fees, service fees, discovery fees, and reporter's fees. Hearings can last several hours or even days. The time to wait for the judge to hear the case can take hours. It is common for the parties to wait for their turn just to have a continuance of the hearing.
2. Emotional Expense: Measuring the emotional expense of a divorce is impossible. Divorcing individuals encounter many emotions. The time and resources expended on litigation can exasperate even the most calm person.
3. Physical Expense: A litigated divorce can take several years to complete. Divorce requires energy and time. Each party must disclose relevant information to the other party. Items such as loans, minor children's records, finances, receipts are relevant in a California dissolution.
4. Complicated Laws: Divorce litigation is complex. A divorce case is like the English language. Both have rules, exceptions to the rules, and exceptions to the exceptions. A writer not only needs to know how to spell, but also needs to know sentence structure, genres, language, and the audience. An attorney needs to understand laws, procedures, rights, and evidence rules. A working knowledge of the judge's preferences also helps. Litigators spend hours researching issues, gathering evidence, and developing arguments. All the arguments require thought, information, and discussion from the parties and their attorneys.
5. Frustrating Process: Divorce litigation is frustrating. Documents require the correct format or a clerk can return them. Notices of motions require proper service on the other side. If notice is not timely given by a non-interested third-party the judge will not hear the case. In addition, at times the order appears unjust.
6. Decision Maker: With a settlement, the parties choose the outcome. In most divorces, one party values something more than the other party. If the family home is important to one and preserving a retirement account is important to the other, then the parties can agree on how to divide them. If the parties disagree and litigate the issues, then the judge decides. A judge will equally divide the value of the assets and distribute them to the parties. Both parties would have kept what they valued if they would have settled the case.
7. Expedited Divorce: It takes six months and a day to finalize a divorce. However, if the parties agree on the terms of the divorce, the attorney completes the paperwork and the judge signs the order. The divorce will occur on the first day of eligibility, but the division of assets will be finalized on the date of the judgment.
8. Control: The parties get to control the litigation, rather than have the divorce control them.
9. Privacy: Although even with a settlement many personal items become public due to the nature of the divorce, there is a limit. Very personal information does not require public disclosure. The more litigious the parties are, the more likely that "dirty laundry" will become part of the public documents.
10. Justice: Divorce is not a process where justice is quickly recognized. However, the parties are more apt to believe that their decision was just and favorable if they are the ones who determine the outcome.