Financial and Emotional Cost of Litigation

In looking at the various solutions to a divorce or family law problem, litigation is chosen by many. This is the process by which you file something with the court and have a judge make various decisions. While litigation rarely ends up with a full divorce Trial, you are handing your divorce over to a judge to determine how it will work, what you must do and, in some cases, what you must pay or how custody and parenting time will be handled while the divorce is progressing. There are significant costs of going through litigation. What are the financial and emotional costs of litigation?

When you go down the litigation path, you can expect significant financial cost. When you settle, you are able to avoid many of the costs associated with going to court. You can control how much you pay your attorney to a large extent. When you decide to go to court, your ability to control cost is depressed.

By entering litigation, you are required to file specific documents. You must also engage in certain formalities, such discovery, or you might lose your right to do so. There are a multitude of required court appearances where you will pay your attorney up to eight or more hours to simply be at the courthouse with you, in addition to any preparation he or she does in advance. These costs are in addition to other applications that might be filed by you or your spouse as the emotional toll of litigation advances and you become upset with each other. Indeed, the average litigated divorce in our office costs about $15,000.

There is also a significant emotional cost. When you enter the litigation process, you start a lawsuit where it is you versus your spouse. You become adversarial and frequently communicate only through your attorney (which leads to a large of part of the enhanced cost of litigation). It is all too easy to use the court to fight every battle with your spouse when you are already engaged in litigation. The urge to try to settle issues can be suppressed when you are in the heat of battle, so to speak, and you want to win. This continued fight can take a toll on your emotions and, more importantly, can take a toll on your children’s emotions.

The emotional toll of litigation directly correlates to the financial cost of litigation. As you go through the process and get more upset at your spouse, there is a need to get into a winning mindset. That leads many to have his or her attorney engage in techniques to get that “win”, even if it costs thousands of dollars. There is rarely a winner in litigation, but there is frequently a loser: both parties and their bank accounts.

You should make sure that your attorney tries to find solutions to your divorce or family law problem that are not dependent on traditional litigation. We try to resolve every case, except in the case of an emergency, prior to filing anything with the court. There is too much at stake to simply start with the litigation process. If you want to see what personalized solution we can find to your divorce or family law problem, call us and schedule a consultation today at 732-529-6937.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google