Keep these issues in mind if you want to settle out of court

Are you feeling a bit stressed lately because you are trying to get ready for the holidays while also resolving a serious personal matter in life? Trying to remain upbeat for the sake of your kids while also trying to make sure you get a fair deal in your divorce can definitely put a damper on your holiday spirit. The good news is that many people are able to settle their divorces without ever going to court.

If you like the sound of that idea, there are several factors to consider before you determine the best course of action in your particular situation. First, if you and your co-parent can barely exist in the same room without getting into an argument, alternative divorce options may not be the best choice in your case. It doesn't necessarily mean it would be impossible, but the chances of avoiding disputes may be dim.

Think about these things

Like all good parents, it's your children's best interests that are of highest priority as you prepare to divorce. If you and your spouse agree on that issue, you might be able to achieve an agreeable settlement without the need for litigation. Then again, sometimes, saying the kids come first and agreeing to the specific issues pertaining to their post-divorce care and lifestyle are two different matters.

If your ultimate goal is to amicably discuss child custody, child support, property division and other issues that will have a significant impact on your children's lives, then you might consider divorce mediation or collaboration rather than hashing everything out in court.

Make well-informed, careful choices

In a perfect world, every attorney would be highly skilled, experienced and good at what he or she does. In reality, it takes careful thought to choose legal representation who understands the big picture and will act on your behalf to protect your parental rights and also make sure your children's best interests are the central focus of negotiations.

If you do wind up needing to go to court, you also would want an attorney who is prepared to aggressively litigate any and all issues that must be resolved in order to obtain a satisfactory settlement.

What are your goals?

Do you wish to avoid confrontation? Are you hoping to settle matters in as swift and peaceful manner as possible? Are you greatly concerned about finances? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you'll want to learn more about alternative dispute resolution options in divorce.

Mediation and collaboration typically take less time and cost less than litigation. You might also want your children to witness you and your co-parent working as a team to discuss their future and make decisions together based on what's best for them rather than watching you become entangled in a long, drawn out court battle.

You can change direction of your course

Some Ohio spouses try to settle divorce out of court but later realize it's not working out as they'd hoped. If that happens, you can convert your case to litigation. However, the attorney who was representing you in out-of-court negotiations would not be able to litigate on your behalf. You would need to hire a different person to represent you in court.

This is one of many reasons why it pays to learn as much as you can about alternative settlement options ahead of time to determine whether you believe it's the most viable option in your case.

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