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Can you end a marriage without requiring the services of predatory divorce lawyers? As in, a wife and husband having a "gentleman's agreement" to divide children and property?

Varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but in many places yes (with a caveat). You both show up at the relevant office, fill in some paper work, pay a small filing fee and you're basically done (many places have a separation period between the paperwork being filed and the actual divorce kicking in).

The caveat being that even if you do it this way there is nothing stopping one of the spouses suing the other after the fact for access to the children or more money, so you're not completely off the hook if your spouse later decides to get vindictive.

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