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The advantages of an out-of-court divorce settlement

In the not-too-distant past, contentious and difficult divorce proceedings were a lot more common than they are today. Partly, the reason why people choose to conduct their divorces in a more peaceful and respectful manner these days is that the stigma that used to be attached to divorce has all but disappeared. The fact that marriages sometimes come to an end is a lot more acceptable and reasonable to a spouse from the 2010s than it was to a spouse from the 1970s.

There's another reason why spouses divorce more peacefully: The consequences of a contentious divorce are too costly from an emotional and financial perspective for most people to endure. Litigating a divorce from beginning to end in divorce court could require costly expert witnesses, costly trial proceedings and steep legal bills. For this reason, the spouses who can manage to reach an out-of-court settlement have a lot of incentive to put their differences aside and reach a fair and appropriate settlement regarding child custody and property division matters.

Finally, as an added incentive for spouses to conduct themselves reasonably in out-of-court settlement negotiations, courts tend to recognize which spouse is being unreasonable and reward the spouse who is taking the fairer view of the matter. For example, imagine one spouse has put his or her foot down and demanded to keep the house in a case where legal precedence and property division rules point to a 50-50 split of the home. In this situation, the court will likely rule against this unreasonable spouse, and it could even award more property to the reasonable spouse.

The best course of action in any divorce process is to fully understand your marital property rights and parental rights under the law, then seek to maintain these rights -- nothing more and nothing less -- through peaceful divorce negotiations. Although an out-of-court settlement is not possible in all situations, it's certainly a goal that both spouses should strive for.

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