In this article
A divorce is not only the process that legally ends a marriage, but it also is the process of effectively separating the joint life of a couple into two separate lives.
During this phase of a divorce, both parties attempt to get what they feel is the “best” settlement for their needs and wants. In many cases, settlement agreements or proposals go between parties in an effort to work out the terms of a final settlement.
Often, it can be difficult for individuals to figure out just what they should ask for as part of settlement negotiations.
Here are some things you need to take into consideration when preparing a divorce settlement agreement:
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as one parent living far from the children or situations where there has been abuse in the past, most courts seek equitable parenting time between parties.
This means that, if you and your spouse plan to live within a reasonable distance from one another, chances are good that you will be splitting time with your children.
Because of this, you need to go into your negotiations with your ex planning only to discuss what that split will look like (Ex: One week on/one week off, 3-2-2, etc.) rather than gunning for as much time as you possibly can.
Keep Your Home or not?
Do you want to keep your home? Or would you like to get out of it, either letting your ex keep it or sell it and split the proceeds?
Whatever you’d like to do, be sure to take into consideration the financial impact of your choice when writing it into your settlement agreement.
If you’ll be staying in the home, for example, make sure you’ll have the financial means to cover the mortgage, taxes, utilities, and upkeep so that you don’t find yourself underwater a few months or years following your divorce.
Benefits in a divorce settlement
When many people think of dividing up the assets of a marriage, they think solely of real property (houses, cars, etc.) and bank accounts. Forgetting to include things like retirement funds could be costly!
In most cases, spouses are entitled to an equitable share of any retirement funds accumulated over the course of the marriage.
If there is something that you want more than the retirement funds, such as a vehicle or your house, consider ceding your share of your spouse’s retirement funds in exchange for this property. Offering this trade up may make your ex more amenable to “giving up” something of value.
Other Items to consider in Divorce Settlement
If there are other things you think need to be laid out in your divorce, such as one party paying for therapy for the other party in situations of abuse, or who pays for the children’s extracurricular activities, it’s important to begin those discussions early in the process.
A good rule of thumb when beginning to discuss who gets what after a divorce is to begin asking for more than you really want in the end, with the idea that you’ll likely have to compromise before the process is over.
Be careful not to begin by asking for anything too outlandish that it may turn your ex off to working with you at all, but don’t begin so close to your bottom-line wishes that there’s no room for negotiation.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that many things, such as division of retirement accounts and child support, have statutory backing on how they’re separated.
Don’t agree to anything less than what you’d get if you went with nothing different than is what’s written in the law without a good reason and consultation with an attorney.
Skilled Divorce Attorney in Washington, D.C.
Whether you and your ex are able to come to an agreement or not, having a skilled divorce attorney on your side can help you get the resolution you deserve. At Lopez Law, we work hard to help our clients, giving them peace of mind and closure. Schedule your consultation today!