The process of divorce, when it happens, is always a legal matter. In the same way that the marriage itself is not just a personal, but a legal institution, with documents, certificates and a record in eyes of the law, it’s the exact same process with a divorce. You can’t just decide to divorce and have that marriage be dissolved. Until the law recognizes the divorce as final, you’re still married to a person.

But the divorce process itself can take many different forms. The legal nature of dissolving a marriage can take place through a court of law, complete with a judge presiding over the affair. In such cases, experienced divorce lawyers should definitely be working with you to assist you getting equitable distribution during this stressful time.

It’s important to note, however, that a divorce that needs to be resolved in court usually means that there is a lot of conflict and disagreement-both emotional and financial-between the couple. Because of that big rift, no quiet agreement can be reached, and it’s up to the divorce lawyers to argue the merits of the clients’ needs before the judge, and then accept whatever decision a judge renders.

But then there’s the other form of divorce that, while still 100% legal, doesn’t involve a judge or a court date at all. In this type of divorce proceeding, the couple that wishes to divorce come to an agreement without a final legal judgment, and settle their differences outside a court.

This is known as an out of court settlement. The question however, is whether or not this form of divorce is the right one for you.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Amicable

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about out-of-court divorce settlements is that these are “good” divorces that mean the people involved still get along very well, have an emotionally healthy relationship, and have peacefully reached a consensus about how to move ahead with a divorce that is likely to mean they will remain close friends even afterwards. Some mistakenly believe that this is a judgement on themselves and their marriage that they are not in the same position.

However, an out of court settlement is not an immediate statement about the healthy emotional nature of your divorce. It simply means that both people in the marriage are pragmatic enough to realize that taking a divorce to court is both a time-consuming and very expensive process, and in the end, it means one person is going to lose.

An out of court settlement is about compromise, and ensuring that both parties get something acceptable from the divorce. It’s also important to note that just because an out of court settlement on a divorce doesn’t involve judges, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t involve divorce lawyers. A good divorce lawyer can still act on your behalf and advise you during this time to make sure an out of court offer is still a good and fair one for you.

Ultimately it comes to a question of cost and time. Courts are expensive, and there’s no guarantee you will get your way. Out of court settlements are faster and cheaper, but only if you can reach an agreement with the other party.