Going through the process of dissolving a marriage can be confusing and overwhelming both emotionally and financially. Having to go to trial can feel like salt in the wound, as a trial can be stressful and costly. However, going to trial is not always necessary during divorce in Massachusetts.
Rather than going to trial, a couple may be able to engage in informal negotiations during which they tackle matters such as property division and child custody. Another option is an alternative dispute resolution process known as collaborative divorce. Divorce mediation is yet another alternative to traditional litigation when navigating a divorce.
After a divorcing couple reaches a settlement agreement, a judge must approve this agreement. After that, the judge will give the couple a decree that indicates that the marital dissolution is final and documents how the couple’s major issues were resolved. In addition to dictating matters related to property division and child custody, the decree dictates the couple’s obligations and rights with regards to spousal support and child support. If the judge disapproves of a term of the settlement agreement, the spouses will likely be ordered to keep negotiating it; otherwise, the divorce case will end up having to go to trial.
When couples divorce, they naturally may prepare for a long, drawn-out battle. However, if a couple is willing to work together in an amicable way to reach a settlement agreement, this can make the already-challenging divorce process much more palatable. This is especially valuable for those who will have to co-parent in the years ahead. An attorney can provide guidance with both negotiations and alternative dispute resolution processes in Massachusetts.
Source: findlaw.com, “Settlement Agreements and Court Approval“, Accessed on Aug. 7, 2017