"There are no facts, only interpretations."

                                        Friedrich Nietzsche


When a matter goes to court, the parties have diminished their ability to resolve their differences by negotiation.  The initiation of legal proceedings in a court of law is a final and drastic step.


The court system is the only way to force a reluctant party to deal with family law issues.  Litigation does provide resolution for people who cannot find a way to settle their differences any other way.  Unfortunately, litigation is a process focused on the negative aspects of divorce and other family law matters.  In comparison to other divorce options, it causes people to focus on how they are "right" and the other "wrong" when they really just have different ideas about how their lives should look after divorce.


In litigation, decisions are made for the parties by a judge. There are strict rules as to what information may be presented to the decision-maker, who has never seen you before, and will never see you again.


However, litigation and negotiation are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  They can - and at times should - be pursued simultaneously.  Dispute resolution sometimes requires both a power-based approach and an interest-based approach, such as simultaneous pursuit of litigation (use of legal power) and negotiation (attempt to reconcile each parties' interest).


Litigation is expensive and destructive to relationships.  Even though most cases settle before they ever go to trial, the process of preparing to go to trial, if necessary, causes relational damage that is difficult - if not impossible - to repair. Costs of litigation can cause the use of funds that could be put to better use, like children's college or your post-divorce financial autonomy.

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