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A divorce settlement can help you skip a trial

Not all divorces have to see the inside of a courtroom. Even though you and your husband own some high-value assets such as a second home, investment accounts and even a family business, you do not have to let a judge decide which one of you gets what in the divorce. Instead, you and your future ex can negotiate a fair settlement without ever stepping into the courtroom.

Unless there is too much animosity in the relationship, most divorces take place at a negotiation table. Your respective divorce attorneys will act as go-betweens and communicate about what you will and will not accept as part of the settlement. The advice of a Redondo Beach attorney can help you navigate your divorce process. Here is some information on what you can expect during the settlement proceedings.

Your divorce petition and settlement agreement

After you and your husband are able to come to terms and agree on a settlement, your attorneys will draft a legal document (settlement agreement) that includes the details of the property division. Once you and your husband sign the document, you will have to submit to the court that has jurisdiction over your divorce along with your divorce petition. The judge will examine the documents and hold an informal hearing. During the hearing, he or she will ask some basic questions to determine if you each understand the terms of the agreement and to ensure that you both entered into it willingly.

If the judge is satisfied with your answers and thinks the settlement is fair, he or she will sign off on the document, making it legally binding.

The divorce decree

Your divorce decree is proof that a judge has finalized your divorce. After the court accepts your settlement and petition, the judge will issue a copy of the decree to each of you. The document will include your rights and responsibilities now that you are divorced. For example, it will echo the details of the property division you agreed to as part of the settlement. It will also address any child custody or spousal support issues.

Items you can't agree on

If there are things that you and your husband cannot agree on, you can leave those items to the determination of the court. This is a partial settlement. In cases like this, couples can agree on certain items, such as who gets the main residence and who gets the vacation property. On other things, like child custody, they have to rely on the court's ruling.

If you are thinking of divorce, you may be able to complete the process without going through a trial. If you and your husband are able to agree on certain matters, you may be able to reach a settlement agreement.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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