In a now-famous scene from the 1979 movie, “Kramer v. Kramer,” an attorney puts Meryl Streep’s character on the witness stand and asks her if she was a failure during her marriage. The exchange is both entertaining and riveting, likely contributing to Streep’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the film. It raises an important question, though. Is divorce through a court battle worth it?
If you are thinking about divorcing your spouse, you must realize that open-court combat is not typically necessary. On the contrary, an uncontested, mediated, collaborative, negotiated or another type of friendly divorce may be available. You should also understand that court battles can have collateral consequences. Here are three common ones:
1. Fostering resentment
You and your spouse may have decided that your marriage is irretrievably broken. You may not, however, have many negative feelings about your partner. Unfortunately, a scorched-earth court battle may foster resentment or even hatred. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse must have a future relationship, such as sharing parenting duties, opting for a friendly divorce may be a better approach.
2. Losing friends
Divorce can take a tremendous emotional toll on virtually anyone. While there are a variety of ways to cope with divorce emotions, having a close group of trusted friends is often invaluable. If you and your partner fight each other in open court, you may put those closest to you in an awkward position. Consequently, if you do not want to lose friends, you may want to explore other options.
3. Spending a fortune
Ending a marriage usually is not inexpensive. Still, when compared to a protracted legal battle, amicable divorces are often much more cost-effective. Because you must build a solid foundation for future financial success, saving resources during the divorce process probably makes sense.
At one time or another, you may have thought about cross-examining your spouse on the witness stand. Still, the critical consequences of an extended court battle may be too much to bear. By exploring other options for dissolving your marriage, you may avoid much of the hardship that often accompanies divorce.