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Spouses who have decided that their only option is to dissolve their marriage typically want the process to go as smoothly and quickly as possible. While many parties reach agreements, whether on their own or through their lawyers, there are certain times where there is no other course of action other than to take the divorce to court. How can divorcees in Washington know if they should go to court or settle their divorce without a judge’s intervention?

When to settle privately

If both parties are agreeable to negotiating the terms of their divorce on their own or with their own lawyers, the process can go much quicker. While a divorce being heard in a court of law can last for more than a year, a divorce that is settled out of court can be handled at the convenience of the parties involved and their lawyers.

Divorces that are handled out of court are cheaper as neither party is responsible for court costs. There is also a certain amount of anxiety that is involved with appearing before a judge, which can make an already complicated divorce even more stress-inducing. Those factors can be removed if the parties are able to handle their divorce out of court.

When to go to court

No matter how amicable one party may be, there is always a chance that the other spouse is combative, difficult to contact or burdensome to the process. At this point, there may be no other option but to involve a judge who can order the parties to appear in court.

Bringing the divorce to trial also becomes an option when one party begins to demand more than he or she is entitled to. At that point, a family court judge can issue a fair and impartial divorce decree that both parties must follow.

Whether couples are handling a divorce privately or going to trial, it is recommended that the divorcees work with family law attorneys. An attorney may help guide their client through the process, gather information and work to get their client what they deserve at the end of their marriage.