3 Questions to Ask When Considering Litigation! Can we be honest with you right from the start? Talking about litigation means opening up about one of the toughest seasons of our life. In 2017, we went from co-parenting to court.
And yeah, we expected litigation to be a legal battle—lawyer versus lawyer and ex versus ex.
What we didn’t expect is the physical, mental, and emotional toll such a battle would take. And we did not realize until we were in the thick of it that our real enemy—the one we were actually fighting—was Satan.
Because of what we went through, we want to encourage you to ask yourself a few questions before you pick up any legal weapons. We know that, even when necessary, litigation can be one of the most anxiety-producing seasons of your life, and one that’s full of spiritual battles.
We don’t want you to enter a season like that without serious consideration and a whole lot of prayer.
Here is the 3 Questions to Ask When Considering Litigation
3 Questions to Ask Before Contacting a Lawyer
We learned from our litigation experience to take a step back before making legal decisions. It helped us to keep a cool head and to move forward in wisdom. We spent countless hours crying out to God in prayer and so much time working through our thoughts, reasons, and options with each other and with trusted advisors.
Our hope is that these questions will guide your thoughts and prayers as you walk through this difficult season.
Question 1: Why do I feel the need to go to court?
From talking with lots of other blended families, we usually see two reasons a parent or stepparent might want to start the litigation process. The first happens when a change in life requires a change in your agreement.
This change could be as simple as your child getting older—the needs of a teenager are different than the needs of a toddler. Maybe you or your ex recently moved, got a new job, or remarried. And in more complicated situations, you might disagree about how to handle a new parenting challenge or how new financial demands should be met.
The second reason a parent might enter litigation is for the safety of the child. If your ex is engaged in dangerous behavior, like drug or alcohol addiction, or if you suspect abuse or neglect, it makes sense that you want to change your custody arrangement—and fast!
The important thing here is that you’re able to define clearly and specifically why you feel the need to go to court. Knowing your why is crucial for exploring options and seeking counsel.
Question 2: Is this the best course of action for now?
We should say right up front that if we were worried about the safety of our child, we would take immediate legal action. And we’d encourage you to do the same.
But safety aside, is it possible that a more informal approach might work?
You might try bringing up the issue the next time you see your ex. You could say something like, “I’m worried about ______________. It’s really important to me that we talk through my concerns and reach an agreement. Do you think we could do that without involving lawyers?”
If this approach won’t work, you might benefit from the help of a parent facilitator or a mediator.
A parent facilitator will meet with you and your ex to help you navigate the discussion in a productive way. A mediator acts as a go-between when it’s difficult for you and your ex to speak directly to one another.
These options can help you avoid the painful process of litigation.
Question 3: What do I expect to get out of the litigation process?
A lot of people go into litigation with the goal of winning. Of course, right? We want to win, and we want the other parent to lose. Mission accomplished.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in our lives and in the lives of many other families, no one wins. Even if the judge decides in your favor, odds are you’ve sacrificed a lot to get there including time, money, and sanity.
That is why we encourage you to know what you hope to get out of the litigation process before you ever begin. And, gosh, we know just how tricky this one can be.
For us, successful litigation meant reaching a resolution we could live with and one that was good for our son. And yeah, getting there meant all of us adults had to swallow our pride and accept less than what we had wanted.
The reality is that both parties will win and lose. So, the question behind the question is: Am I okay with a court battle that looks more like compromise?
How to Move Forward in Wisdom
We’ve talked with so many blended families who ended up settling their disagreements outside of the courtroom and plenty of others who decided to take an ex-spouse to court.
No matter where you find yourself after spending time in prayer and reading through these questions, we encourage you to put on the full armor of God each and every day.
We wouldn’t have survived 2017 without it.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying.”
Want more information on how to handle litigation?
Check out our recent podcast series, pre-order a copy of our book Blended & Redeemed (releasing September 13!), and stay tuned for more litigation articles here on the blog.
It’s all about 3 Questions to Ask When Considering Litigation
Scott and Vanessa Martindale
Founders of Blended Kingdom Families