In the event of a divorce, the husband and wife generally are free to divide their property as they see fit. They may enter into what is called a marital settlement agreement. A marital settlement agreement is a contract between the husband and wife that divides property and debts and resolves other issues of the divorce. Although many divorces begin with a high level of acrimony, a substantial majority of divorces (95 percent or more) are settled by the husband and wife-often with help from attorneys-without need for a judge deciding property issues or other issues.
When the husband and wife have reached a marital settlement agreement, they can take the agreement to court, where a judge usually will approve the agreement after a short hearing. Some states with simplified divorce procedures might not even require a hearing if everything has been agreed to by the husband and wife.