The Court's Perspective
Look at it from the court's perspective. Angry, divorcing people in significant conflict bring issues to court because they want judges to solve their problems. At the very least they want judges to be the tiebreaker on issues they can't resolve by themselves.
Divorcing people spend a lot of money, time, and energy preparing court papers with their lawyers. They provide selective information about themselves and the other side. Some of that information may be either wholly or partially untrue. Sometimes when both parties tell the court about an incident, the only way a judge knows they're talking about the same thing is that they have the same date, time, and location!
The court — the stranger — reads the papers. Sometimes a judge will form doubts about the ability of both spouses to be good parents. He may ask the state's child protection agency to investigate the family and make a report back to him. Should the judge find that neither you nor your spouse is a fit parent, your children could be placed in foster care.
Relying on a Stranger
When you ask a judge to settle any issue in a divorce, you are asking a stranger, who knows nothing about your life except the bad things you and your spouse have said about each other, to settle the issue. It's challenging for a stranger to make a useful decision about other people's lives using information that was provided in a litigation setting. The couple that litigates ends up angrier, poorer, and often forced to live with an unworkable court order. Once again, divorcing parties have unreasonable and inaccurate expectations about the court process, and they are bitterly disappointed by the end result.
Not only do you lose significant amounts of control when taking your divorce to court, but you also pay for that loss of control. If you absolutely must go to trial, you may want to do some of the clerical work for your case to save a little money. Talk to your lawyer about the possibilities.
This same kind of scenario can play out at any stage of the divorce. While the divorce is pending under that unworkable order, you may come back to the court to get the order changed or to enforce it. You may bring another matter before the court. You may seek a final resolution of all issues from the court. Every time you bring your issues to court, you're turning over the decision-making authority to a stranger who has to rely on your information to make the decisions.
Taking a Different Route
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Now that you know a judge can't fix what's broken, you need to take a different approach. After all, you're an intelligent person who knows more than you think about this divorce thing. For sure, you know lots more about your family than the judge does. Why can't you, your spouse, and the lawyers negotiate a resolution of the issues at hand?
The advantages of negotiating a settlement are significant: You don't run up huge bills. You don't get your blood pressure up to dangerous levels. You do stay in control. You do end up with a document based on the reality of your situation. You do end up with a plan that works. Most importantly, you have not scorched the earth when it comes to your spouse.