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Not every contested divorce is court-bound, but some certainly are

An understandable misconception held by many is that a so-called contested divorce occurring in Massachusetts or elsewhere is necessarily headed straight to a court for pitched battle and a judge-directed resolution.

That belief, though not entirely accurate, is widely shared in public; after all, television shows and movies routinely pitch it in courtroom dramas.

In fact, many contested divorces can still be accomplished with relative civility and fully attendant to all material details through directed negotiations and mediation. Certainly, not every issue-laden decoupling is destined for court.

Of course, some are. Couples in certain instances simply have intractable problems that they cannot settle informally. Instead, they need to sort out their differences pursuant to a court-directed process and judicially imposed outcome.

That means going to court, which not all family law attorneys are equally prepared to do.

We always stand ready to do so at the Wellesley Law Offices of Lisa A. Ruggieri, P.C., when that possibility looms large for a Massachusetts client. We note on our website that, if it is in a client's best interests, we will "take the case to the court system, zealously protecting your rights."

As noted in a recent media focus on contested divorces conducted under the oversight of a judge, the venue is distinct and, for many people, imposing. And its ranking individual is a busy and no-nonsense official who readily expects litigants to be informed and prepared at all times.

The above-cited article notes that such an expectation is often not met when divorcing parties enter court absent proven legal counsel who can ensure their readiness concerning all material matters. And an inability to adequately marshal arguments and timely respond to questions and directives can produce dire results for a divorcing litigant -- even one with meritorious claims.

"Hedge your bets," says an inside commentator in the aforementioned spotlighting of courtroom-driven contested divorce. "[G]et a good lawyer."

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