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A majority of divorce lawyers say that divorce cases are increasingly settling before trial, according to a new American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer poll. The association said 58% of poll respondents reported more settlements during the past five years. In contrast, only 12% reported fewer divorce settlements before trial. Settlements negotiated with the help of a lawyer are increasingly widespread, said Gaetano “Guy” Ferro, president of the Chicago-based 1,600-member academy. “Negotiated settlement gives the spouses more input into their divorce judgment than does letting a judge decide the issues,” Ferro said. Ferro also noted that such settlements can reduce adverse tax consequences associated with an adversarial divorce, are less stressful and make it easier for the couple to co-parent after the divorce.

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