The former couple's surprising divorce settlement appears to point to 'a money situation,' a legal expert tells PEOPLE
"Kevin and Christine Costner have come to an amicable and mutually agreed upon resolution of all issues pertaining to their divorce proceedings," a rep for Kevin told PEOPLE in a joint statement for the former couple on Tuesday.
The turn of events is a surprising one, considering the pair's contentious legal battle following Christine's May 1 divorce filing.
PEOPLE spoke with David Glass, a California-based family law attorney and former psychologist, who said money - and an embarrassing spotlight on the couple's squabbling - were likely significant factors.
"People go to court and then if one party does not do well, which Mrs. Costner didn't do well, she got a third of the (child) support she wanted. She didn't get her award for fees. She was told that the prenuptial agreement was going to be upheld. Then she starts considering, do I really want to litigate the rest of this?" Glass notes.
"For Kevin," he continues, it's likely "just a money situation. How much is it going to cost for him to go all the way through trial? How much time, how much pressure on him and distraction from his career and his kids, versus what could he pay to be done with it? "
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The media spotlight had only grown larger in late August as proceedings dragged over a two-day court case in Santa Barbara determining child support, where Kevin was forced to detail his earnings in projects like Yellowstone and Christine made headlines as her lawyer argued that luxury was in their children's "DNA at this point."
None of it had to happen, says Glass.
"Most celebrity or high-profile clients go to their attorneys, and their attorneys explain, 'Listen, we should settle this because you don't want any of this in the news. You can either settle it or you can go to a private judge to keep it out of the news cycle,' " says the attorney. "And they didn't do any of those things, which just doesn't make sense."
On Sept. 1, a judge set the monthly child support payments Kevin would pay to Christine at $63,209, matching his proposed amount after she and her lawyers had requested $175,057, up from the $129,755 the actor had been tentatively ordered to pay. The former couple share three children: sons Cayden, 16, and Hayes, 14, plus daughter Grace, 13.
The Costners were set to appear in court again this December to hash out the validity of their premarital agreement.
"Once you get through that first hearing where you come out of court and you feel like a wrung out rag and it's cost you a ton of money, most people start reconsidering, 'Do I really want to go all the way to trial?'" says Glass. Now, he notes, the terms of their settlement will be shielded from the public.
TMZ, which first broke the news of the resolution, reported Christine would get more than the couple’s premarital agreement provided. According to previous court documents, which referenced the prenup, the former model was entitled to around $1.5 million.
PEOPLE confirmed Tuesday that the 68-year-old Oscar winner and his estranged wife, 49, had reached a settlement agreement four and a half months after she filed for dissolution of marriage, listing their date of separation as April 11.
“Kevin is relieved that this matter has been settled and will continue to focus solely on jointly raising their three children,” a source told PEOPLE amid the settlement news.
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