Some people who are divorcing believe going to court will solve their problems. They expect to “win” and have all their expectations met. They hope for a Solomon-esq moment when the court does the “right” thing and gives them justice.
This is not a realistic expectation. Generally, after a court battle, both parties feel like losers. There are many reasons why going to court is not worth the fight.
Going to Court Puts Your Future in the Hands of a Stranger
People, in general, are not gamblers. When you go to court, you are essentially rolling the dice on what a stranger, the judge, is going to decide about your most intimate relationships: between you and your spouse, and between you and your children.
Divorcing couples who can settle their issues between them without asking the court to do so, are generally much more satisfied with the outcome than those who subject themselves to a court fight. Courts encourage this. Some judges even order couples to go sit down somewhere, like IHOP or McDonald’s, and try to work out their issues before the judge makes a ruling that will affect the rest of their lives.
Custody Battles Make Future Co-Parenting Difficult
After spending days in court slinging mud at the other parent, saying what a bad person they are and why they should not have custody of the children, whatever fragile co-parenting relationship existed before trial will likely be ruined.
The co-parenting relationship needs to be preserved. Children love both parents. When one parent criticizes the other, children also feel criticized since they know they are part of both parents. The fight puts the children in the middle and often makes them feel like they must choose one parent over the other.
For years to come, there will likely be events involving your children and, eventually, grandchildren: school recitals and programs, soccer games, graduations, weddings, babies, grandbabies. You may get married, or your spouse may remarry, and there will be a stepparent or stepparents in the mix.
It would mean so much to your children if both parents could be present at these events without fighting and tense interactions. Children want to celebrate with their parents, but they may not feel like they can invite them if there has been a high level of conflict during the divorce process.