If resolving your issues through mediation is not a possibility, litigation may be your only alternative. Going through the litigation process means giving up control over the outcome of your case, which you would otherwise have in a mediation, by allowing a judge to make decisions for you. In litigation, the judge will decide how your property should be divided, how much child and/or spousal support will be paid and by whom, as well as how you and your spouse will share the time and responsibility of raising your children.

The litigated divorce is complicated and is comprised of several stages.

Divorce proceedings begin by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, during which the other party will have 30 days to file a Response.

Often, the parties are in need of a judge to decide temporary child custody, visitation, support or restraining order disputes. These hearings are called “Order to Show Cause” hearings and will require the preparation of documents to submit to the court and subsequent appearance(s) by the parties and their lawyers.

It’s common in child custody disputes for the court to order a psychological evaluation of the family and, may even, appoint a lawyer for the children. You and your spouse will be charged with all or a part of the cost of the psychological evaluation and the attorney’s fees.

Once temporary orders are obtained, the parties and their lawyers work on a permanent resolution to the issues raised in the divorce. Some parties are often able to use the mediation process at this point to reach agreements that can be entered as a “Judgment”. If an agreement cannot be reached, the parties and their lawyers will go to trial where a judge will make the final decisions.

When your spouse insists on having matters resolved by a judge, it is advisable that you both hire an attorney to serve as your advocate. Division of property, support, your rights, and issues concerning your children are just a few of the decisions the judge may need to make for you.

In my practice, my staff and I believe that litigation should be the alternative to mediation. When a mediated divorce is just not possible, my experience in litigating family law matters means that I will be your advocate throughout the process and support you though the difficulty of the litigated divorce.