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How to divorce: it's your choice

8578680_S.jpgDivorce is something like an all-you-can eat cafeteria. You can enter the line, and choose a small salad, a single entrée, and a small side or two. You can even skip dessert. Or, you can begin heaping your tray with mounds of food until it is difficult to tell if you still have a plate underneath it all.

You and your on-the-way-to-becoming-former spouse can choose forms of divorce that demand very little of the Missouri family courts or take up much of those judges time. You can work with your spouse to a mediated solution, with all of the terms and conditions of your divorce agreement worked out, and simply present it to a judge for final approval and his or her signature.

In the alternative, you can view it as the epitome of an adversarial process and adopt a scorched earth policy of dealing with every issue your former spouse presents. You can contest every element of the child custody, child support, alimony and property division of the proceedings.

You can pile your litigation plate high, until even the clerks of court dread to see you entering the courthouse.

But besides the high cost of attorneys fees and court costs, there is another price, in addition to that of generating a toxic environment for you and your children. And that is publicity.

Court proceedings are public, and most situations transacted there are public record. If you don't mind giving anyone who wants to read it access to the most intimate details of your personal and financial life, you may want to avoid the pyrrhic victory contentious litigation can bring about.

Source: eonline.com, "Trace Adkins' Divorce Case Settled; Country Singer Ending 17-Year Marriage to Wife Rhonda," Rebecca Macatee, June 17, 2105

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