Divorce is a difficult process to handle and go through, normally filled with tension, emotion, and pain. There are 40% to 50% of marriages summing-up in divorce every year, so it’s evidently common as you might haven’t thought of, and you’re not alone. With the divorce process, part of it is to create a divorce settlement agreement, sometimes called the marital settlement or a divorce agreement.
If you have no idea how to create a divorce settlement agreement, here are tips you need to make one:
What is a Divorce Settlement Agreement?
This settlement agreement is a document that legally binds you and your spouse to agree on the terms of the divorce and it’s where you can include a complete scope of topics, such as spousal support, child support, custody rights, visitation rights, and division of property, or any other concerns that are pertinent to your situation. Now, let’s discuss the steps and tips you need to create the agreement:
1. Do the Basics First
The first thing you need to do is to get the necessary legal forms from the law library of your courthouse, or province and state’s government, or justice website. When it comes to any legal agreement, you should begin by asserting the names of the parties who are involved in the agreement. If it’s a divorce, it will be you and your partner.
2. Insert All the Essential Details
Afterwards, you must include all the relevant information about your marriage such as:
- date of marriage
- date of separation
- names and ages of any younger kids of the marriage
- basis/reasons for your divorce (incompatible difference, which can be manifested by living “independent and apart” for a distinct length of time)
- current living settings and addresses (means that you or the other has resettled out of the former family home, or you are living in the family home but “separate and apart”, and the present-day situation and place of your children or other assets that you want to include
3. Include Decisions to Child Custody
The agreement must include the issues of child custody because you need to decide who will have legal and physical custody. If you don’t know the difference between the two. Legal custody is the right to come up with crucial life decisions for the child such as their education, finances, healthcare and well-being. On the other hand, physical custody is the right to which parent the child will mainly live with. You may also state visitation rights for both parents.
Moreover, there are plenty of various potential arrangements for custody. You can have the physical custody while one parent can have legal custody. Or one parent may both have physical and legal custody, or both you and your spouse may have joint custody. Granting joint custody is the recent trend among courts, but it normally depends on what would be best for the children or kid. Sometimes it’s not possible for parents to get joint physical custody because they live too far away from each other. Meanwhile, one spouse will have the sole custody because the other has displayed behaviour toward the children in a certain way.
4. State the Division of Marital Property and Debts
This is also an important part of your divorce settlement agreement. You and your spouse need to divide the assets and debts that both of you obtained during the marriage. Commonly, the property that was acquired before the marriage, or after separation, will be given to the original spouse who bought the property. But you can discuss whether you want to split up the assets in any manner you wish to and whether the assets are owned individually or jointly.
If you have a house together and own it, this will be the biggest asset that you should divide. You and your spouse can decide who will keep it, or you may sell the home and divide the profits from it. However, if one of the spouses keeps the title to the marital home and a debt exists on the property, then the spouse is responsible for recapitalizing the mortgage into his or her separate name within 60 days of obtaining a final divorce order.
When it comes to dividing any assets you want in the agreement, it’s not really needed to state every item the two of you own, unless if that’s what you want to do. It would be enough to just list the items that have notable monetary or essential value.
It’s also highly recommended that you hire a family lawyer to help you properly prepare the agreement. They will review it and ensure that vital legal provisions are included, removed, or corrected in order to protect both rights.
5. Specify If There’s a Name Change
You may also state whether you or your spouse wants to have a name change. This is not a requirement for the divorce process, but a lot of people do it as part of beginning their new life apart. If you have the judge to approve your legal name change, then it can save you from the extra hassle and costs of needing to do it sooner in a separate process.