Delay – The Hidden Cost of Going to Trial

Going through a divorce is emotionally challenging. In fact, in most cases, it’s downright unpleasant.

It’s not surprising that a person going through a divorce wants the case to be over as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, going to trial is generally not the way to get a speedy resolution of a divorce case.


Because so many divorce cases are delayed in the court system.

4 Reasons Many Divorce Cases Are Delayed in Alaska

1. No matter how “set in stone” a trial date appears to be, at least in Superior Court in Anchorage, if an emergency children’s proceeding is filed, it trumps the divorce trial. That means then the judge assigned to the divorce case has to reschedule for a later date.

2. Even if a trial starts on the scheduled date, it is not unusual for delays to occur because of court matters over which the trial judge does not have any control. These can include things such as emergency children’s hearings. It’s not uncommon for a case to be tried a day here and a day there over the course of several weeks. In rare cases, proceedings can span over the course of several months.

3.  A judge does not usually make a final decision at the conclusion of the trial. The judge usually announces at the end of the final day of trial that he or she is going to take the case “under advisement.” This means that the judge will now have to set aside time to look at exhibits, the court clerk’s notes and even listen to the recording of the trial.

4. Once the judge issues a written decision, each side has the right to file an appeal to the Alaska Supreme Court challenging portions of the judge’s written decision. The written decision will control how property is divided and how parents share time with their children. Even if you like the outcome, you cannot assume the case is over.

Because delay is one of the risks of going to trial, settling a case through mediation or a settlement conference with a judge is certainly an attractive alternative. The day you settle, you can begin to look forward to the rest of your life. Why wait?

Posted in: Divorce