Just the idea of going to court can be draining – both emotionally and physically. As a result, in recent years there has been a trend toward trying to resolve divorce matters outside of court, which can be done in a number of ways, including through a mediation process or simply by permitting your attorneys to make proposals and having ongoing settlement discussions. There are some instances, however, when you will need to file a complaint for divorce and begin litigation.
1. Cases that involve domestic violence
If you are in a situation in which there are instances of domestic violence, you have no choice but to have the matter handled by the court. A restraining order cannot be put into place without a court determining that it is appropriate and necessary to do so. Once you are in court and have obtained a temporary restraining order, there is an option to enter into a lesser agreement known as Civil Restraints. In that situation, there is an agreement that generally includes language that the parties will live separately and apart and will not harass one another. However, as the name states, this is only a civil order. If a party violates civil restraints there is nothing that can be done other to than file a motion to have it enforced. Meanwhile, if a restraining order is violated, the person violating it will be arrested. Your safety and well-being are the most important factors, so if you are involved in a relationship in which domestic violence is an issue, it is in your best interest to involve the family court.
2. Cases where there is significant financial gap
There are often times when potential clients come to a consultation and tell the attorneys that they do not have any access to the marital money, and perhaps do not even have any information about their own personal finances because the other party has complete control. In these cases, it is necessary to file for divorce so that you are granted the ability to file a motion asking to be provided with marital money to pay your attorney and to “even the playing field.” A judge is likely to order that an asset be liquidated in order to provide a party with funds for litigation, and it may be that this is your only option to make that happen.
3. Cases where you have tried to settle outside of court but have stalled
Sometimes parties begin negotiating a settlement either through attorneys or a mediator. However, it’s not uncommon for parties to reach an issue that one or both are unwilling to budge on. When this happens, clients often have to make a decision about whether they believe it is worth the time and energy to continue attempting to resolve the matter out of court, or if it’s time to file in order to present the issue to a judge for his or her opinion and input. Sometimes this is all that’s necessary in order to move one or both parties from their prior stance. Filing a complaint for divorce places the case on the court’s timeline and will ensure movement forward.
If you are considering putting an end to your marriage and want to keep the divorce proceedings out of family court, call the attorneys at DeTorres & DeGeorge to schedule a consultation to discuss whether this is the best option for your particular case.