A divorce settlement agreement template is a legal document in which the spouses that are going to separate set the terms of their separation in writing. These terms may include property division, child custody, child visitation, and other relevant issues.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a divorce settlement agreement?
- 2 What to include in a divorce settlement agreement?
- 3 When should you use a divorce settlement agreement?
- 4 How do you write a divorce agreement?
- 5 Some tips for writing a divorce settlement agreement:
- 6 Conclusion:
What is a divorce settlement agreement?
Before or at the time of filing for divorce, couples use a divorce settlement agreement to split their property and liabilities. This written agreement also specifies the alimony and custody arrangements.
When assets have been distributed and any important custody arrangements have been finalized, then before issuing a divorce decree, a judge will be required to approve the agreement. Some other names of the divorce settlement agreements are;
- Divorce Settlement Agreement
- Divorce Agreement
- Divorce Settlement
- Divorce Document
- Divorce Contract
- Marriage Settlement Agreement
- Proposed Divorce Decree
What to include in a divorce settlement agreement?
A divorce settlement agreement is a document that includes all of the details among spouses in the process of getting a divorce. It is essential that this agreement includes all of the relevant information regarding what the spouses had agreed upon.
When the divorce gets finalized and either of the spouses doesn’t follow the terms written in the agreement then for the purposes of enforcing the agreement, one of them can file a motion with a court. Moreover, include the following important information in your divorce agreement sample;
Parenting time schedule
Couples don’t want to create a detailed parenting time plan or schedule when they negotiate a settlement. This is because they believe that they can easily work things out. It doesn’t matter how amicable you and your spouse are towards each other because things become difficult and lead to disputes.
Disputes that occur due to time schedules are very common. Therefore, it is very essential to come up with a complete and detailed time schedule.
Details about support
Both parties, in most cases, would have to exchange child support and alimony. For the purpose of clarification, it is essential to include the details regarding these types of support. Specify the information about your income. Also, state that in the calculation of support amounts, the sources of income you used. For alimony, includes the following details;
- The amount that has to paid monthly
- Each month, the due date of the alimony
- If it’s a limited obligation, how long the alimony will last
- The termination of alimony such as remarriage or death
Details about life insurance
You should also specify the information which needs the spouse who pays the support to maintain life insurance. Also, make sure that the amount is enough to secure his/her responsibility. Then, to secure your child support or alimony, the other spouse must be the policy’s beneficiary. In the event that the give of the support dies, this secures the spouse getting support as he/she will continue to receive alimony and child support.
Details regarding retirement accounts
Listing all of the retirement assets of both parties is essential. Give the details about assets. Specify how these will distributed and who gets to keep which assets. Before it can be divided, there are some retirement accounts that require a Qualified Domestic Relation Order (QDRO).
Mention a provision in the divorce agreement about who will complete the QDRO and who will prepare the costs. In case, you are planning to distribute an IRA, then you can do this by rollover. You should ensure that to specify the time frame in such a case.
A strategy for the sale of real property
After the finalization of the divorce, a lot of couples decide to sell their marital home. In the divorce settlement agreement, include all of the details about the sale of the home in order to make sure that this process goes without a hitch. You should add as many details as you can regarding this sale.
When should you use a divorce settlement agreement?
If you and your spouse have financial and property issues, then you should use a divorce settlement agreement to resolve the issues. For instance, this agreement should be used in the following scenarios;
- Bank accounts to divide
- A debt that must be allocated
- If you have children together and have to develop custody and support payments
On the other hand, before filing for divorce, you will most likely not require a written settlement agreement if there are no property, financial, or child-related issues.
How do you write a divorce agreement?
Follow the below steps to write a divorce agreement;
Begin with basic information
At first, from a justice website or the law library of the government court of the province or state, you should obtain all of the required legal forms. Start by including the basic information as the divorce agreement is a legal document such as the complete names of everyone involved in the agreement.
Include all of the relevant details
In the next, include the information relevant to your marriage;
- Your marriage date
- Your separation date
- Your minor children names and the ages
- The reasons behind your divorce
- Your current living arrangements
- Your complete address
Verify your divorce settlement agreement
Include a statement in your agreement that states both of you accept all of the terms specified in the agreement. Accept the terms and in the presence of an official witness, affix your signatures. This makes the divorce agreement template legally binding.
Determine and distribute the debts and assets
Identifying and distributing the debts and assets are the most important part of the agreement. The spouses can have either “joint” or “marital” assets and “separate” or “personal” assets. During the marriage, everything acquired becomes marital property. Hence, in the process of divorce, only these types of debts and assets get subject to division. When creating the agreement, the couples must talk about all of these debts and assets in detail.
For visitation and custody, come up with a parenting plan
In the next step, you have to speak about your children from the marriage. Make a decision on whether you and your spouse agree to sole, split or shared custody. You must always have the best interests of your children in mind when it comes to these discussions. Most spouses generally agree on sole custody. In sole custody, only one parent would take care of the children while the other just visits.
Agree on alimony and child support
These are probably the last details to mention in your agreement. In sole custody cases, particularly, you have to sign an agreement that only contains child support.
Polish your divorce agreement
You should polish your agreement after including all the relevant information, set all the terms, and agreed on all of them. Review the agreement thoroughly and check for any errors in grammar and spelling. Before submitting a document to a court, give the document to a family lawyer to review it for you before submission.
Some tips for writing a divorce settlement agreement:
You and your spouse can make a divorce settlement agreement at home by negotiating the terms in collaboration with each other. Nevertheless, in order to avoid either spouse challenging, this type of legal document must be drafted correctly.
You can easily write your own Divorce Agreement without a lawyer by using a divorce settlement agreement template. However, it is essential you have to be very thorough, clear, accurate, and detailed that covers all possible repercussions. Also, you must be future-focused.
Furthermore, to make sure that no important considerations are overlooked, it is also helpful to have your agreement reviewed by a neutral party. This way, disputes may also be avoided in the future. To make the agreement legally valid, it must include the following details;
- Date of the agreement
- Full name of both spouses
- Marriage date and location
- Date of marriage end
- Child support and custody arrangements
- Spousal support terms and conditions
- Life and health insurance
- Division of spousal assets and property
- Allocation of debt and liabilities
- Name changes (if applicable)
- Retirement benefits
- Any required disclosures
- Additional provisions
- Signatures and dates
In conclusion, a divorce settlement agreement template is a legally binding agreement that minimizes the chance of experiencing disputes in the future. It has all of the details between couples in the process of getting a divorce.