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Elements of a divorce: when a settlement agreement makes sense

Divorces in and of themselves can be challenging enough for all involved. The thought of having to go through a trial may be more than some New York residents going through a divorce can bear to even consider. For these individuals, out-of-court settlements may be a better way to go.

If both spouses can agree on some of the important issues of the divorce, the trial can be avoided. In fact, the vast majority of all divorce cases are settled before even needing to go the trial stage. Sometimes, this is the result of spouses engaging in informal negotiations or after an alternative dispute resolution process -- such as collaborative law or mediation -- is utilized.

If the divorcing couple -- often with their respective attorneys -- is able to negotiate and resolve the issues through one of the out-of-court processes mentioned above, these decisions will be finalized in greater detail in the couple's written settlement agreement. This may then be shown to a judge, and an informal hearing typically follows in which the judge ensures that each party thoroughly understands the agreement, and both voluntarily sign their agreement. If it was fairly negotiated and the terms of the agreement do not seem to blatantly favor a spouse, this settlement agreement will, most likely, receive the court's approval.

Whether settled in or outside of a local New York courtroom, divorce issues are typically complex legally. Sometimes the entire scope of the process may appear, at first, unclear. Or, sometimes, an individual is simply unsure of what divorce options are available to him or her and what they should do. In either situation, the individual typically chooses to consult an experienced divorce attorney first before proceeding with the divorce.

Source: FindLaw, "Settlement Agreements and Court Approval", Aug. 7, 2016

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