Traditional litigation is the image most people have when they think of divorce. In traditional litigation, each party is represented by an attorney who presents their side of the case to a judge. While that doesn't necessarily mean that the parties are in contention about every issue, it does mean that litigation is used to resolve the issues that the parties have difficulty agreeing on - including custody determinations, spousal support and maintenance, the division of property.
Traditional litigation is considered an adversarial method of divorce; however, it is most often used by parties who have agreed on almost every issue, but have reached a sticking point. This issue may be the only issue the parties are having difficulty with, or it may be one of a few issues that cannot be resolved. In any case, each party has the right to litigate the issue. The courtroom is the best place for settling such issues.
Neither party should simply acquiesce to the other party's terms. Some divorcing couples reach a point where coming to a decision together just will not work. In that case, the matter can often only be resolved in the presence of a neutral third party who makes the decision. Traditional litigation is the best option. It can be helpful to have a neutral third party review the issue, take into account the facts as presented and render an unbiased decision.
During litigation, each party will present his or her side of the case, including applicable evidence. This may simply be testimony, but it can include documentation where the issue is about support issues. The judge will review the testimony and evidence and come to his or her conclusion.
An experienced Twin Cities family law attorney will help you see the big picture and decide if a litigated divorce is the best way to resolve a sticky situation. While most parties can settle most disputes outside of the courtroom, it is important to understand that it is your right to take an issue before the judge when an amicable solution cannot be reached. It is to your benefit to have a skilled St. Paul family law attorney advocating on your behalf during these instances.