As many people have heard, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise settled their divorce case in less than two weeks, signing a confidential agreement last week, according to attorneys for both parties. The out-of-court negotiations presumably gave the two greater control over the terms of the settlement, which is often true for all couples facing divorce, including those here in Maryland.
Media reports of the Holmes-Cruise breakup focused on issues of Scientology and whether Holmes was essentially held captive in the marriage. The quick resolution allowed the couple to keep the terms of their agreement private by keeping the media from getting their hands on further details.
Additionally, quicker negotiations tend to save couples significant legal fees. For example, a long and contentious custody battle in court can become somewhat expensive.
When a couple decides to battle in court over child custody or property division, they give up control of the details of the final decree, since the judge will make the ultimate determination. Often, a judge’s decision does not meet the needs of either party and results in continued legal battles.
On the other hand, when the parties reach an agreement themselves, it often allows them to begin the healing process, and reduces the impact on the children.
However, sometimes going to court is the only feasible option and in that case it is important to have an attorney who will present your case to the judge in the best possible way.
Those facing separation or divorce are often wise to talk to their family law attorneys about what type of strategy is best to arrive at a divorce settlement. Because of all of the complex issues involved in divorce, including spousal and child support, child custody, division of assets and debts and any concerns of a prenuptial agreement, it is important to consider all of the unique factors of terminating a specific marriage before determining how to proceed.
Source: Washingtonpost.com, “Cruise, Holmes agree to settlement in divorce case; details not revealed,” July 9, 2012