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Is a Negotiated Divorce Settlement Right for Me?

When you are in the middle of a heated divorce, it’s tempting to try to obtain everything you possibly can from your spouse. But while you might eventually prevail in litigation if you opt for the scorched-earth approach, you could be left with high legal fees, a bitter spouse, and the resentment of friends and family.

But is a negotiated settlement right for you? Read on to learn more about the pros and cons courtesy of the Maryland divorce lawyers of The McKeon Law Firm.

What Are the Pros of a Negotiated Divorce Settlement?

A few beneficial reasons to consider a negotiated divorce settlement include:

  • Settlements are usually faster and cheaper — Litigation is expensive and time-consuming, and you likely want to settle your divorce as quickly as possible. Negotiating an out-of-court settlement helps you avoid expensive court fees and can usually happen much more quickly than going through the full court process.
  • Settlements are less emotionally draining — Going through a divorce is an emotional process that takes a severe toll on all involved. These emotions can be even more taxing in the adversarial environment of a courtroom. Negotiating a settlement out of court can minimize the emotional toll you go through.
  • Settlements are less taxing on young children — No child wants to see their parents fighting, and they especially do not want to see them arguing in a courtroom. Negotiating an out-of-court settlement generally helps preserve family ties and sets a better example for your children.
  • You have more power over the final agreement — No matter how strong of a case you make in litigation, the judge will be the one who ultimately determines what assets you will receive, if you retain custody of your children, who is responsible for child support, what alimony a spouse will be required to pay, and so on. Negotiating a settlement keeps the power in your hands, so you know your needs have been addressed.
  • Settlements give you more flexibility — Judges are bound by certain rules and regulations in divorce litigation, which means they often have little flexibility when it comes to things like custody, alimony, and child support. But an out-of-court settlement gives you more freedom to develop a plan that satisfies everyone involved.
  • Settlements are confidential — The public can access many court records, and you certainly don’t want everyone to know the details of your divorce. Out-of-court settlements are confidential so that you can keep the details of your divorce out of the public eye.

What Are the Cons of a Negotiated Divorce Settlement?

Although there are several reasons to opt for a negotiated divorce settlement, litigation may be preferable in the following instances:

  • Settlements require compromise — Most Maryland divorce settlements require both spouses to give up some of what they want in exchange for a quicker, less expensive resolution. If there are certain things you are not willing to compromise on, you may be better off going through litigation.
  • In some cases, settlements are more expensive — It’s not unheard of for two spouses to spend a lot of time and money attempting to reach a settlement, only to find there’s no common ground, and litigation would have been a more efficient use of time. If you see little room for compromise with your spouse, attempting to negotiate a settlement may prove more costly than litigation.
  • Settlements can be harder to modify — The process for modifying a judge’s divorce order is can be fairly straightforward, but that’s not necessarily the case for negotiated settlements. If the settlement is approved, you may have a more challenging time persuading a judge to modify the agreement if your situation changes later on.

Contact a Gaithersburg and Bethesda Divorce Lawyer Now

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for divorces in Maryland, so it’s essential to seek help from a skilled divorce lawyer. The Maryland divorce attorneys at The McKeon Law Firm have decades of experience helping spouses find the right solution for their particular circumstances. Contact us in Gaithersburg or Bethesda today for more information on how we can help you with your divorce.

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