Will Your Divorce End Up in Court? Here's How to Know

April 17, 2024

Going through a divorce is an emotionally charged experience, and facing the prospect of a courtroom battle can add significant stress. If you're a Colorado resident contemplating divorce, you're likely wondering: will my divorce end up in court? As with many legal matters, the answer depends on your specific circumstances. Here at Johnson Law Group, Colorado's trusted family law attorneys, we'll guide you through the factors that influence whether your divorce will be settled outside of court.

Reaching Agreement: The Key to Avoiding Court law book with gavel on top in a court room

The most significant factor determining if your divorce goes to court is whether you and your spouse can agree on the key issues. These issues can include:

  • Division of Assets and Debts: This encompasses everything from the marital home and vehicles to retirement accounts and outstanding loans. You can utilize online resources or financial professionals to determine fair market values. 
  • Spousal Maintenance (Alimony): This refers to financial support paid by one spouse to the other after the divorce is finalized. Reaching a voluntary agreement on spousal maintenance through negotiation can be more efficient and less contentious than leaving it to the court to decide.
  • Child Custody and Support: If you have children, you'll need to determine a parenting plan outlining physical and legal custody arrangements, and child support payments. Discussing child support openly and considering childcare costs, medical expenses, and extracurricular activities can foster a sense of fairness.

If you and your spouse can find common ground on these issues through open communication and negotiation, you can significantly increase your chances of avoiding a courtroom battle.

Navigating Complexities: When Amicable Agreements Elude You

Unfortunately, some situations make reaching an agreement challenging. Here are some factors that can complicate the process and potential solutions:

  • Highly Valued Assets: Disagreements over the division of valuable assets like a family business, a vacation home, or significant inheritances can quickly escalate tensions, making it difficult to reach a fair resolution.
    • Solution: Consider appraisals or explore creative solutions like buyouts, dividing ownership percentages, or selling the asset and splitting the proceeds.
  • Child Custody Disputes: Outside intervention may be necessary when parents have conflicting views on child custody arrangements, especially regarding primary residence or decision-making authority.
    • Solution: Focus on creating a parenting plan that prioritizes the child’s needs and allows for a healthy relationship with both parents.
  • Hidden Assets or Debts: If one spouse suspects the other is hiding assets or debts, it can erode trust and make compromise nearly impossible.
    • Solution: Be prepared to give full financial disclosure. Consider requesting bank statements, investment account records, and appraisals.
  • Emotions: Emotional factors such as resentment, anger, or a desire for revenge impede the settlement process and increase the likelihood of litigation.
    • Solution: Take breaks from negotiations if tempers flare. Time away allows emotions to cool, leading to clearer thinking during future discussions.

Experienced Colorado divorce attorneys at Johnson Law Group can be invaluable. We can guide you through complex negotiations, advocate for your best interests, and make sure you meet all legal requirements.

The Positive Power of a Judge's Ruling

While court appearances can be intimidating, they aren't always the enemy. Sometimes, a judge's ruling is necessary to ensure a fair outcome for both parties. The best course of action depends on your unique situation. Here are a few benefits of having a judge’s ruling.

    • Protecting the Vulnerable: Sometimes, one spouse may be in a weaker bargaining position due to financial dependence, lack of legal knowledge, or emotional manipulation. A judge's ruling can act as a safeguard here.
    • Providing Clarity and Closure: A judge's ruling provides a definitive endpoint, resolving outstanding issues and allowing both parties to move forward with their lives. This sense of closure can be crucial for emotional well-being and can pave the way for healing.
    • Enforcing Existing Agreements: Even with a signed agreement, unforeseen circumstances or one spouse's non-compliance can create new problems. A judge's ruling can enforce the terms of the agreement, holding both parties accountable and preventing future disputes. 

Reaching Resolution Outside the Courtroom

Even when complexities exist, there's still a chance to avoid a formal court hearing.  Mediation offers a valuable alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. 

Alternative dispute resolution: refers to the different ways people can resolve disputes without a trial.

During mediation, a neutral third party assists with communication between spouses, helping them reach mutually agreeable solutions. Here are some advantages of mediation:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Mediation is usually less expensive than litigation.
  • Control Over the Process: You and your spouse have more control over the outcome than a court-imposed decision.
  • Preserving Relationships: Mediation can foster a more civil atmosphere, which can be beneficial if you have children together.

Other ADR options can include:

  • Early Neutral Evaluation: A neutral evaluator, often a retired judge, reviews your case and provides a non-binding opinion on potential outcomes in court. This can be helpful for reality-checking expectations and fostering compromise. 
  • Online Dispute Resolution (ODR): With technological advancements, online dispute resolution platforms offer divorcing couples convenient ways to resolve their disputes remotely. These platforms often provide tools for communication, negotiation, and documentation, allowing couples to work through their issues at their own pace.

Johnson Law Group: Your Trusted Guide Through Colorado Divorce

While not mandatory, engaging the services of attorneys can often streamline the process. Our attorneys can negotiate on your behalf, draft agreements, and ensure compliance with all legal requirements. This proactive approach can reduce the necessity for court appearances, particularly if an agreement is successfully reached through negotiation.

Contact Johnson Law Group today at 720-445-4444 for a FREE consultation. We'll answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you navigate the path toward a successful divorce, whether it's achieved through agreement or with our solid legal representation in court.

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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
Divorce doesn’t have to be dramatic. For the litigants, losing your spouse is significant enough. But you can choose the way it affects your daily life. The only guarantee I can give is that the feeling that you have right now will not be the feeling you end with. This is a season in your life, and it must be approached that way.
Our experience, dedication to Colorado families, and our success in each case we represent sets us apart from the competition. We are passionate about family and estate law. Our highly-qualified team will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible results in your case.


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