Going to Court

Most separating and divorcing couples never go to court. Even when a court case is started, most family cases settle before they reach trial. Instead, families come to an agreement on their own, often with the help of lawyers or through mediation.

If a couple cannot come to an agreement, they can go to court and ask a judge to settle such issues as what parenting arrangements are best for the children; what to do about child support and spousal support; and how to divide property and debt. The judge will make orders, which are directions that the couple must follow.

Sometimes you have no option but to go to court. For example, if there are concerns about family violence, the court may need to make a protection order to protect one family member from another family member.

Before you decide to go to court, we recommend you talk to a family lawyer, who can advise you on options available.

If the best option is going to court, you can choose to have a lawyer represent you or choose to represent yourself.