The hidden costs of litigation

Unfortunately a lot of marriages come to an end – and while the parties weren’t able to work their relationship out, most parties are able to work out how to divide the matrimonial assets, as well as what is in the best interests of the children.

Despite this there are a small number of matters that are not able to be resolved easily, and in those situations parties are often left with the painful decision of whether to start litigation in the family court.

At Phang Legal, we do not encourage pointless litigation and we consider that litigation is a last resort where negotiations between parties have failed. We believe that litigation is often not in the best interests of our clients. You may be aware of the financial costs involved in litigation. There are a lot of fees that can rack up over time, such as legal fees, court fees, expert reports, valuations, and barrister fees. But what a lot of people do not consider is the hidden cost of litigation – emotional costs.

The emotional costs of family law can be a great burden. It can unduly stress you out. It can cause you anger, it can aggravate the situation, and it can stress the relationships that you have with your children or your new partner. These emotional costs are costs that will go on as long as litigation is ongoing.

Because family law matters are very personal in nature, parties often lose themselves in the heat of the moment or are more likely to “stick to their guns” and refuse to compromise. These actions often prolong litigation, which leads to further financial and emotional costs.

At the end of the day, the matter heads off to court – for the matter to be taken out of your hands, and into the hands of an impartial third party, who may or may not make orders in your favour. 

At the end of the day, litigation is a means to an end – and only one tool that is available towards the resolution of a family law conflict. It should not be recklessly taken out – your resources could be better spent elsewhere. A barrister of ours once said:

“Do you want to spend all this money on a hearing, or save it and use it to pamper your child during the time that the child spends with you?”

Choose your battles wisely, and use the appropriate tools for the job. Doing so can help give you some peace of mind during an otherwise turbulent time in your life.

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