The divorce process is easier when you and your spouse have an amicable relationship and can agree on most things (easier said than done, we know). However, even if there is a full agreement, all aspects of the divorce process will still need to be completed (such as Financial Disclosures).
Whenever possible, we recommend trying to negotiate as many details as you can prior to your Initial Status Conference. The sooner you are able to reach an agreement on the specific aspects of your divorce, the smoother the rest of the process will be. If you and your spouse do agree on all the issues, you may not be required to appear in court; that said, always confirm with the Court whether you’ll still be required to appear.
There is another major incentive to work things out outside of court, whether through mediation or legal counsel, your decisions will be better suited to what you actually want. When it comes to splitting assets, one spouse may be fine with giving up the house in exchange for a savings account, and while the Court will make equitable decisions, it won’t weigh out your preferred compromises. Similarly, if one spouse works evenings and the other works weekends, you and your spouse will be better at creating a parental responsibility schedule that works for your specific circumstances.
We know it is not always possible to have a full agreement, and we do not recommend agreeing to things you’re uncomfortable with. Your sense of security and peace of mind is important, and the terms of your agreement will have significant lasting consequences. If you do not have a good relationship with your spouse, and thus, cannot come to an agreement, we recommend waiting for the Initial Status Conference. In these situations, it is the Court’s job to help guide you through the process, which would include requiring both parties to attend mediation if deemed necessary.
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