Despite what many people think, around 95% of divorces settle without the need for extensive litigation. When starting your divorce process, you may not see how settlement is possible. Whether you’re not on good terms with your spouse or you just can’t seem to agree on anything with them, the numbers do not lie.
When parties to a divorce make the decision to settle, they sign what is called a Marital Settlement Agreement. A Marital Settlement Agreement is a written agreement, signed by both spouses, that defines the terms of their divorce. Depending on the issues in your case, the Marital Settlement Agreement may address a variety of issues, custody and parenting, alimony, assets, and more.
The reasons behind the majority of people settling and avoiding the courtroom become obvious once you start to consider the advantages of reaching your own agreement without going through the litigation process. Some of these advantages are:
Saving money – You pay for the time your lawyer spends preparing for trial and attending trial and trial prep can be lengthy. In a trial setting, court costs, attorney’s fees and other expenses add up very quickly. For a divorce trial, you can be looking at a price tag of five or even six digits. The cost for executing a settlement
Quicker – As previously mentioned, trial can be a very lengthy process. Lawyer’s need time to prepare for the trial and just waiting for an available trial date can delay the process by a few months.
Privacy – Divorce hearings are public record unless one or both of the parties take action to protect it. Otherwise, all financial and personal details discussed during a divorce are available for anyone in the public to see. This may be a problem for parties who are business owners or others who like to live a private life.
Control – At trial, a judge will use their best judgment to have an outcome that is just for both parties to the divorce. No one has a better understanding of what arrangement will work best for you other than you. When settling a divorce yourself, you and your spouse may have created solutions that the court may not think of.
Even if money and time aren’t important to you, having a say in your future without someone mandating how your life will work after divorce should carry some weight toward encouraging a settlement on both sides of the divorce.