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Your divorce agreement should contain a conflict resolution plan

If you're considering divorce this holiday season, you're not alone. Unfortunately, the busy bustling around from event to event, the end-of-year work chaos, the expense of parties and gifts -- all of these stressors can work to point out the weaknesses in your relationship.

The trouble is, if you and your spouse can't stop fighting during the holiday season, you have probably been fighting a lot. Won't getting a divorce make that even worse?

Not necessarily. A lot of that will depend on the choices you make before you begin the divorce process. If you and your spouse can agree on most issues involving child custody, division of property, and support, you may be able to file your divorce uncontested.

If you have some major sticking points, consider choosing divorce mediation or collaborative law as opposed to taking the dispute before a divorce judge. In these alternative dispute resolution methods, you and your spouse can negotiate a solution you both can live with. If you go to court, one of you may end up feeling that they've lost.

When you negotiate a divorce settlement agreement using any of these methods, it's important to recognize that disagreements will almost certainly arise in the future, and to make a concrete plan for resolving them. Will you go to a mediator? Take the dispute to court? Spell it out.

If you're thinking about divorce this holiday season, you're probably hoping to put all the stress and unhappiness behind you by this time next year. If you don't determine a method for resolving disputes with your ex, you may find yourself fighting your way through the holidays again.

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