Louisiana couples who are going through a divorce may hope to work out an agreement for property division and child custody through negotiation. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. One spouse may be uncooperative, or ideas about what each of them wants may simply be too far apart. This can leave the couple with the decision of whether to settle with an agreement that is unsatisfying to one or both parties or to go to litigation.

The outcome in litigation is uncertain. For a person with a strong case, it may be the best option. However, if a person is unhappy with the judge’s ruling, there could be significantly more time and money spent on appeals. This comes after a process that is already long and expensive. Time must be set aside to prepare for the case, and court dates are generally months in the future. Divorce costs can rise to five figures or even upwards of $100,000.

Stress is also a factor. Litigation often worsens the relationship between spouses, who may still have to co-parent after they divorce. People may need to stop in the middle of family time or work to get information that the court will need. Children may feel the stress as well. When an individual is deciding whether to press on to litigation or settle, an attorney may be able to help a person weigh the pros and cons of both approaches.

An attorney may also be able to advise a person of their rights in a divorce so that the person understands what arrangements might be possible. In Louisiana, a community property state, property is supposed to be split equally, but this does not mean that a judge will necessarily divide everything 50/50. For example, one person might keep the home while the other person keeps a retirement account or another asset of a similar value.