10 TOP RISKS OF GOING TO COURT IN YOUR FAMILY LAW MATTER
The main difference with settling a matter outside of court vs. going to court is that with a settlement, some type of desired outcome is certain. On the other hand, there are no guarantees with a trial, which is sometimes unpredictable. Below are some things to keep in mind before you decide to head to the courthouse:
You are the only one who knows what is best for your family, not necessarily the hearing officer or judge.
There is no certainty of a successful result for you after trial.
The Bergeron standard will attach to family law cases, meaning it is harder to modify custody through the court than if you simply come to an agreement/settlement with the other parent.
Trials and hearings can drag on for extended lengths of times, often several years.
Although the Judge will likely prevent spectators from being present in the courtroom during your trial or hearing, the minutes and transcript from a trial/hearing are available as a matter of public record.
Attorney fees and court costs are very steep for trials and hearings. Court costs are determined by the Clerk of Court and include filing fees, copying and postage, charges for serving summons and subpoenas, etc., and are entirely separate from attorney's fees, which are the hourly rates paid to attorneys for their work in a case. Court costs can reach very high amounts, often far beyond the actual monetary worth of a case
Your lawyer has an idea of what the judge thinks about your case, but has no idea how the judge will rule in your case.
Even with the best evidence, the best witnesses, and the best testimony, you have no control over how the judge will rule in your case, especially on miniscule issues or even on the big picture custody plan.
You don’t know if you’ll be “on” for your trial day. (The client is under a magnifying glass. How he or she dresses, gets to court, walks from the parking lot to the court house, and reacts to testimony- the judge is watching it all. Clients at trial are inherently unpredictable, too!)
The stress and family tension will be higher during this already difficult time. (You should consider the wider impact of taking your case to a hearing/trial, as well as the stress of having to provide evidence and discuss personal matters in court)