21001 Sycolin Road
Suite 340
Ashburn, Virginia 20147

Law Office of Li-Shann Durst

(703) 443-4762


Collaborative Divorce

What are the options for resolving family law issues?

Generally, family law issues can be resolved through negotiation or litigation. In negotiation, parties strive to reach agreement outside of court, and litigation involves going through the court process where a judge decides on the issues. Negotiations may be between the parties, the attorneys, through mediation or collaboration.

The litigation of family law matters is inherently adversarial, stressful, time consuming and costly. For many individuals, contested litigation is the only option they consider to resolve their disputes.

What is the litigation process?

The litigation process begins when one party files a complaint with the court. The opposing party then has to file an answer to the complaint. The next step in the process is referred to as discovery. Discovery is the gathering of any evidence that may support a party’s case. This information is generally provided as written documentation. Both parties are obligated to provide full disclosure of all information that is requested. After discovery is gathered, both parties present their case before a judge. The judge then makes the final decisions.

Litigation is a process by which parties use the court process to settle a dispute. The litigation process is used when parties cannot resolve the issues through any other process. A judge makes all decisions in a litigated matter, and this decision is reflected in a court order. This order is legally binding, and both parties must comply with the order as it is written or face certain penalties.

Pros and Cons of Litigation

  • Uncooperative parties – With court mandated deadlines and requirements, uncooperative parties will face penalties if they ignore the court’s deadlines, orders, rules, and requirements.
  • Discovery – Documents and verbal responses through the discovery process grant access to information that may not be otherwise available.
  • Evidence – The evidence presented during trial is tested by an independent third-party judge. 
  • Appeal – A losing party may have the opportunity to appeal an unfavorable decision.
  • Time Frames – Often cases can take up to several years to be decided by a court.
  • Appeal – The right to appeal applies to both parties and there is the possibility that a judge’s decision may be overturned by an appellate court, thereby prolonging a final decision.
  • Costly – The litigation process is very costly, and the longer it takes to resolve the matter the higher the litigation costs.
  • Relationships – One of the most damaging aspects of family law litigation is the damage it does to the family overall and especially the children.  Family law matters are often very emotional and stressful.
  • Judge’s Decision – Decision-making is taken away from the family and is made by a judge who knows very little about the family and their needs. Judges are people too and can make wrong decisions.
  • Public Forum – Most court documents are available to the public

To find out more about Litigation, call our Ashburn, VA office at (703) 443-4762 or Schedule a Consultation.