Why do some divorce cases settle and some go to trial?

This is kind of an interesting question to answer especially within the family court and divorce realm.  I think there are a number of reasons why some cases are able to settle and some are destined to be expensive and to be tried before a family court judge.  I have learned that I shouldn’t categorize my cases by which ones I think will be easily resolved and which ones won’t because I am constantly surprised when one case that I expected to go to trial settles and one where there seems to be no issues suitable for trial goes on and on.  Some of the things I have heard from divorce clients in the past is that “it is just the principle of the thing.”  Sometimes, a person would rather fight it out and spend money over “principle” rather than let their spouse have the satisfaction of getting them to “settle.”  Many cases go to court for the wrong reasons.  Just like the quote above, the main denominator in these matters is that pride gets in the way.

Then again, there are those hard cases that need to be tried.  Recently, I handled a custody matter that went to trial.  Honestly, the children would have probably been fine with either parent and both parents wanted them.  The Guardian ad Litem for the children had a hard time with any type of recommendation and actually waffled back and forth.  These types of cases usually come down to one or two very minor things that neither party is willing to acknowledge or give in on and that is why they must go to trial.

So, to be honest with you, it is hard to predict whether your case will settle or go to trial.  Sometimes it can be harmful to go into the beginning of the case with the mindset that we are just out to settle.  My goal is to always get the best outcome possible for my client.  That may require them to settle, but other times it may require them to forgo settlement and go to trial.


  1. I understand and appreciate that you are always trying to get the best deal/solution for your client. I personally don’t think settling in or out of court has anything to do with that from your side. I just think it is strange that some divorces going to court can’t be predicted. It just baffles me that the little things can play such a big role in how hard it is to reach a settlement.

Speak Your Mind