Traditional litigation is by far the most common method used to resolve family law disputes. Traditional litigation refers to initiating a case– whether it be a divorce, child custody, or other family law case– with your local district court so that a judge or magistrate can resolve the dispute for you. While it is true that going through the litigation process can be stressful and expensive, there are some situations where it is inevitable and/or necessary. Therefore, it is Ms. Monty’s goal to help clients through the litigation process by zealously advocating for clients’ interests while also providing clients with an honest and realistic opinion regarding the likelihood of success.
The litigation process will vary depending on whether your case is pre or post decree and depending on the county that your case is filed in. However, every litigation case is the same in that every court will set specific deadlines and requirements that must be completed throughout your case. For example, in a divorce case, both parties are required to complete mandatory financial disclosures to report their income, monthly expenses, assets and debts. Throughout a litigation case, Ms. Monty will keep you apprised of all upcoming deadlines and walk you through all requirements.
In general, most litigation cases have three stages:
- Court Filing and Information Gathering
Once a case is opened with the court, the beginning of a case is usually focused on gathering information. This could be financial information regarding assets, debts, or income belonging to you or the opposing party. It could also be information about your children’s needs given the current circumstances. During the information gathering stage, experts (such as appraisers, business evaluators, or child experts) are sometimes hired to assist in understanding information.
- Strategy Development and Settlement Discussions
Once information is gathered and reviewed, the case usually shifts to a discussion regarding strategy. Additionally, in most cases there will be some discussion regarding settlement. The benefit of being thorough during information gathering is that it will assist both the client and attorney in understanding what is and what is not a fair settlement offer.
- Trial Preparation and Trial
If a case is not fully resolved through settlement, the focus will shift to trial preparation. Trial preparation is a time-intensive process during which your attorney will prepare your strategy, exhibits and witnesses that will be called at trial. You should expect that your trial will last anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on your case and the complexity of the issues.
If you would like to learn more about the litigation process or discuss whether court is the best avenue for you to resolve your family law dispute, feel free to contact us at 970-797-3407 or through our online Contact Us form to schedule an initial consultation with Ms. Monty. Laura Monty Law is a Fort Collins divorce attorney serving much of Northern Colorado.