Maria Shriver doesn't want her children with Arnold Schwarzenegger to become "collateral damage" in their divorce.
The couple split after 25 years of marriage last month, shortly before it was publicly revealed Arnold fathered a child named Joseph, now 13, with the family's former housekeeper Mildred 'Patty' Baena and although she wants to legally end their union, Maria is determined to protect their children Katherine, 21, Christina, 19, Patrick, 17, and Christopher, 13.
A source told RadarOnline: "Maria is extremely bright, and trusts her lawyer, Laura Wasser. Maria wants to ensure that she gets a fair settlement and that her children's future is secure, that is all she cares about, period.
"Maria has already begun to move on from her failed marriage. She and Arnold do talk, they have to - they have four children together. It's very likely that they will iron out a divorce settlement before they even file, and that is the goal.
"Maria knows that even though there will be a point when she is no longer married to Arnold, they will still have four children together. She doesn't want the children to be collateral damage in all of this."
Friends of the couple have also revealed that Arnold will pay Maria's legal fees although she is determined to keep costs as low as possible.
The source added: "Maria has seen plenty of lawyers in Hollywood get very, very rich from bitter divorce battles. And she is determined to not let that happen with her. Maria is literally tracking every dollar that is being spent on the divorce.
"Maria will be asking Arnold to pay for her attorney's fees, and at this point, his lawyer, Bob Kaufman is agreeable to that.".