You may be wondering whether you are required to go to court. Sometimes, disputes can be resolved out of court by negotiating with the other side and coming to an agreement. Various tools can be used to attempt to stay out of court, such as meetings between both parties and their lawyers, collaborative family law, mediation, or arbitration. Having a lawyer lead you through the negotiations is important, as your lawyer can explain the law, your rights, and communicate with the other side. Your lawyer will also draft the appropriate agreement. Coming to an agreement with the other side is often the best solution, since it lets you and your former partner decide your arrangements and the best schedule for your children, and it keeps legal costs at a minimum. It is also usually much faster than going through the court system.
Other times, going to court is necessary when these negotiations do not produce a solution. Court proceedings are time-consuming, stressful and expensive. Once again, it is important for you to hire a lawyer, who will explain the court process and what to expect, and will represent you throughout your case. If you need to go to court, your lawyer will prepare formal documents, which will be given to the court along with detailed financial information. These documents provide the Justice (judge) with the background knowledge to help them understand the particular facts of your situation. These documents are the building blocks of a successful legal case.