The end of a marriage is often an emotional and messy affair. On top of this, when people have to deal with the legal rigmarole of a complicated and lengthy divorce settlement agreement process, it is understandable that they are left feeling tired and overwhelmed.
People also have so many doubts regarding the divorce agreement and spend a lot of time and energy searching here and there for the answers. Just read on, This article will provide all the answers to all such commonly asked questions.
What Is a Divorce Agreement?
A divorce agreement is a formal written agreement between spouses that lists down the terms of their divorce. Once it is signed by both the husband and wife and is accepted by the court, it gets incorporated as a decree and the marriage gets dissolved legally.
This agreement also helps the couple to mutually determine how their assets and debts will get divided in the future, and who will have what responsibilities such as related to children, pets, finances, etc. It also covers points related to alimony, child support, and visitation.
You and your spouse must go over all the details, even if it is a mutual divorce agreement. This way you can move on with your life peacefully without worrying about future financial tussles and disruptions.
A divorce settlement agreement template is also alternatively referred to as a property settlement agreement (PSA), a marital settlement agreement (MSA), or a property, support, and custody agreement.
When Do You Need a Divorce Agreement?
Nobody thinks of divorce when entering into a marriage. But if you find yourself facing one, you will benefit from a divorce settlement agreement.
People generally use it because it makes the divorce process faster as both the parties can list down and negotiate the various terms and conditions (for e.g., division of property, debts, child custody, etc.)
It is often straightforward if the couple comes to a mutual agreement about these matters and signs a divorce agreement. If that doesn’t happen, the divorce process is handled in court, each person will contest and the judge will decide on the division of finances, child custody etc.
If you and your partner can come to common terms, you can save yourself a lot of time, money, and hassle. Simply use our divorce settlement agreement template or free property settlement agreement template, fill in the details and your customized agreement will be ready for use.
What Is Included in a Divorce Agreement?
The Divorce agreement should be as thorough as possible. You should include in it everything important to you. Generally, it covers:
- Identification details: The names of husband and wife, any minor child, their lawyers (if any).
- Reason for divorce: For e.g., mention if it’s a no-fault divorce.
- Asset distribution: Make clear provisions for the assets purchased by you during the marriage as well as your previous personal assets (e.g., your investment income, real estate, business, etc.).
- Liability distribution: Clarify how you plan to pay for your joint home loan, vehicle loan, etc.
- Alimony: Be clear about who will pay the alimony, how much would it be, for how long would it need to be paid, and under what conditions can it be terminated.
- Children-related issues: This generally includes details like who will get their custody, what would be other party’s visitation rights, any child-support provided, etc.
- Other legal details: Besides the terms of your divorce, there are some legally required details as well. These could be the governing jurisdiction, signatures, date, etc.
Check out our divorce agreement samples to see the various ways to include these details. Then create your personalized document using our divorce settlement agreement template.
What Is the Difference Between a Divorce Agreement And a Separation Agreement?
Both are quite different. You should clearly understand their distinction and then choose the appropriate route for your marriage. Below, we have laid down the critical points to help you make this decision.
- Different legal marital status: When you separate, you remain married legally. Later, if you reconcile your differences, you can start living together. However if you divorce, your marriage ends in the eyes of law and you can remarry too.
- Temporary v/s Permanent nature: Often couples choose the separation route when they either see a possibility of reconciliation or they are undecided about divorce.
- Taking things to court: Unlike divorce agreements, you don’t need to file separation agreement papers in court.
- Separation of assets and liabilities: It’s possible to formally separate your financial assets, income, and liability payments via both the agreements.
- Custody matters: Both the agreements can formally address the issues related to child custody, visitation, support, etc.
- Retention of some benefits in separation: Sometimes couples choose separation over divorce so that they can still claim certain benefits from healthcare plans or joint-taxation, etc.
If you still think you want to go the divorce way, you can form your customized agreement via our divorce settlement agreement template.
Is It Possible to Modify the Divorce Agreement in the Future?
Generally it is quite difficult to modify the divorce agreement in the future. So you should take care to properly negotiate various terms with your partner and provide for the different eventualities during the drafting stage itself.
However, if you still feel the need to modify the agreement, it is much easier if your partner agrees to the changes. So negotiate with your ex. Then draft and sign an amended divorce settlement agreement and file it with the court.
On the other hand, if you are unable to come to a common ground, going to court may be your last resort.
Our divorce settlement agreement template can help you include various common terms and conditions and give your divorce agreement document a comprehensive shape in the first drafting stage itself.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File a Divorce Agreement?
This is quite a common question as often people are wary of the cost of dealing with lawyers. The answer is that you can file for divorce in court even without a lawyer. We’ll consider two cases here:
This means that the divorce is mutual and no party is blaming the other. In this case, you can easily file for divorce online, on your own, and also save yourself a lot of legal fees and time.
You and your soon-to-be-ex partner can decide on the various details and use an online divorce settlement agreement template to create your document. If you want some clarity, and want to first see a divorce settlement agreement sample, you’ll find those easily too.
This is the situation when one party is blaming the other for divorce, and you cannot arrive at a common ground mutually. Here, through a divorce agreement template can still serve the purpose but we recommend you to use a lawyer.
The lawyer can help you create concrete documents and also represent you in the court. He can help you prove why your spouse was responsible for the demise of the marriage and get favorable decisions in critical matters such as alimony, child custody, etc.
What Steps Should You Follow to File a Divorce Agreement?
The process of filing a divorce agreement and getting your divorce decree is straight-forward if you and your spouse are going for a mutual no-fault divorce and have arrived at common grounds on all important matters.
Firstly, you should download the divorce forms from the website of your state government or county clerk. You can also use an online divorce settlement agreement template to create your custom divorce agreement. You’ll find such a divorce template on our website as well.
Next, you’ll have to submit all these forms and the signed agreement at the office of the county clerk and also pay the requisite filing fee. Remember that only one of you is allowed to file these documents and then this person should ‘serve’ the divorce papers to the other person.
Once this agreement is presented before a judge, he will determine whether it complies with the state laws. Then you’ll be granted your divorce decree and this legally terminates your marriage.
A divorce can be a messy and costly affair even if both the parties agree. The spouses have so many loose ends to tie that it really tests one’s endurance and patience.
CocoSign’s divorce settlement agreement template can simplify the process and also save you expensive lawyer fees. If you don’t know where to start, you can refer to our divorce agreements samples which are comprehensive documents prepared by legal-experts.
We provide various types of agreements and templates on our website and take pride in making people aware of and independent in their dealings with the law.
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