Divorce is a difficult and emotional time in many people's lives. For some, it was a bitter and heartbreaking experience that still influences the choices they make today. For others, it was a sad but inevitable end to a relationship that wasn't meant to last. Ending things amicably is the most beneficial way to divorce, however, an unfortunate reality is that it doesn't always work that way. A marital settlement (also known as separation) agreement states the parties' intention on dividing assets and resolving issues. Making a marital settlement (separation) agreement that lasts requires careful consideration and negotiation between both parties. Here are some steps you can take to create a divorce agreement that is durable and effective:
The more specific and detailed the agreement is, the less room there is for confusion or dispute later. Make sure to clearly outline the terms of the agreement, including property division, child custody and support, and spousal support (such as alimony). The division is one of the most challenging aspects of a separation because married life tends to be so intertwined. Without the possibility of settlement, the court may end up deciding how assets and custody will be split between ex-spouses. Going to court should be the last resort. It is costly, time-consuming, and often does not yield the results either party is looking for.
Plan For the Future
While it may be tempting to separate quickly, it's important to think about how the marital settlement agreement will work in the long term. For those with children, changing a parenting plan or custody agreement is not a simple or inexpensive process. Especially when developing shared custody plans, consider the lives your growing teens will have. When children are young, their needs are a little more straightforward. However, when they grow closer to adulthood, there are many factors to add to the parenting plan. A comprehensive parenting plan or custody agreement will take a child's growing social and extracurricular needs into account. Consider the following: If a child spends the weekend with friends during one parent's designated weekend, do they lose time with their child for that weekend, or can they make up the time in other ways? These situations should have documented resolutions.
Compromise & Maintain Boundaries
Marital settlement agreements require two signatures, which means that there will be a sense of give and take in order to make things work. In the event that an ex-spouse can't seem to budge on certain important matters, it may be beneficial to work with a mediator. A neutral third party can potentially assist in helping both parties find a common ground and come to an agreement and save money on legal fees. A marital settlement agreement that has been filed is only worthwhile if both parties establish that they will maintain their contractual obligations. Although the experience may have been emotional, a separation agreement should create a sense of finality and closure. Maintaining appropriate boundaries and following the marital settlement agreement and parenting plan is the best course of action in order to avoid future disputes.
Have Documents Professional Reviewed
At the end of the day, even if you believe that you have covered all your bases, it's possible that something may have been overlooked. It could be something as small as a missing signature, or major like failing to establish a comprehensive custody agreement. Utilizing professional and experienced legal counsel can further clarify inaccuracies and potentially lead to a final, uncontested marital settlement agreement.
When it comes to legal matters, documentation is everything. Mistakes or oversight can impede the court filing process and lengthen the time it takes to establish a resolution. NClegaldocuments.com created a platform that makes the process of creating legal documents simple and accessible. If you're ready for a separation agreement, get started by clicking Marital Settlement Agreement or contact an attorney by calling (704) 492-2588.