What Is a Divorce Settlement Agreement?

In a few thousand years of existence, human beings invented, molded, and specialized in different art forms, professions, and technologies. Besides building communities to protect one another, they also found ways to develop partnerships with other growing societies and people within their villages. The essence of marriage or wedding contracts was, in a way, sacred to many individuals. Up until now, the nature of the unification between couples has social and personal values. Like how society merits this specific act, it also recognizes the importance of divorces. Nowadays, couples who are unfit and dissatisfied with their relationship can file separation through court proceedings. With a court settlement agreement, couples meet halfway to arrange their dealings and leave things in order. A divorce settlement agreement contains the necessary information to tackle the divorce settlement offers of each spouse to meet expectations and share current assets.

In 2019, Statista reported that the number of married couples in America reached 61.96 million, an increase previous year’s tally of 40.2 million. On the other hand, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on marriage and divorce rates in the US. In comparison, more marriages happen than divorce, with two million people joining in holy matrimony and nearly one million citizens filing for separation. While talking about marriage and divorce, the Pew Research Center provides an article about young adults and their views on cohabitation. It states that 78% of young people between ages 18 to 29 find living together without marriage acceptable.

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The Acts of Separation: Types of Divorce Settlements

Many couples on the verge of breaking their vows have to go through certain procedures to prove points. Divorce has been accepted in different countries all around the globe, but some nations do not see the separation fit in their standard and social norms. Although some might view divorce as unnecessary, the act of breaking family settlement for peace and happiness—a better state in life—proves to be a healthy choice. Nevertheless, divorces depend on the individual side of a person in a relationship. So, what are the common types of divorce settlements known to the public?

Arbitration: When the two parties decide, through an appeal letter, to settle the issues outside the court, the former couple can hire a private judge. Known as an arbitrator, the judge will weigh the contents of the divorce documents to discuss the finality of the marriage settlement agreement. The arbitrator serves as the neutral party, which helps arrange the divorce settlement of the couple.Mediation: The process of mediation, similar to arbitration, centers on having a neutral third party measuring the merits of both individuals. The mediator does not give final decisions on the matter but instead guides the couple into finding common ground. He or she acts as the communicator for the former partners to avoid further conflicts. In many cases, the mediator signs a mediation agreement or mediation settlement agreement prepared by the couple. When the couple goes to court, the document containing the settlement will be handed to the presiding judge.Contested Divorce: Unlike the previous sections, a contested divorce includes two raging parties with ongoing issues on their current assets. Since the couple owns significant amounts of properties or resources, the court procedures take long. The situation has a heated response, and the attorneys, who have representation agreements with the separated couple, handling the case have a lot of challenging tasks.Uncontested Divorce: In an uncontested divorce, the couple has no underlying hatred towards each other. Instead, the two parties have come into terms with the decision to have a mutual consent divorce agreement. There are no bickerings in court, hearings, and negotiations as both parties settled the divorce professionally and peacefully. Additionally, the couple filed a divorce agreement form separately and without delay. If the couple has children, they can file for child custody through child care contracts.Default Divorce: For this type of divorce, the other party fails to respond or does not try to send a letter to the person who filed for the separation. When this occurs, the divorce filed by the spouse will be recognized in court. Many spouses use a divorce settlement letter sample to write down requests they send to their former lover.Fault and No-Fault Divorce: This divorce type focuses on the alleged fault or no-fault of the spouse. The party can provide evidence(s) of the fault done by the spouse to assure the grant of divorce. Hence, fault divorce centers on abusive relationships, infidelity, and abandonment. On the other hand, no-fault divorces do not need proof of the fault performed by the former spouse. Instead, the other states differences and incompatibility to prove a point in court. Either way, the attorneys sign a confidentiality agreement with the parties.

Breaking the Vow: Common Reasons for Couples to Divorce

Besides losing affection and care for their significant other, some spouses commit irresponsible acts that alter the relationship. In some unfortunate cases, other partners show their hidden personalities and characteristics to lovers—some have hidden agendas or pretenses. If this takes place in a household, it usually leads to divorce. The legal process acts as a way to end the relationship and avoid writing mistakes in each individual’s last will and testament. Now, what are the common causes for couples to break up and have divorces?

Infidelity

The finalization of the divorce between Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1996 rocked the whole world. As they separated, the allegations of infidelity from the side of the crowned Prince became known to the media. He loved Camilla Parker Bowles. According to Insider, cheating or extramarital affairs is the second most common reason for divorces among couples. Once a spouse breaks the trust of his or her partner, there will be doubts lingering in the air.

Money

Aside from infidelity, another cause for divorce is extensive or lack of resources. Couples with conflicting money management skills and attitudes can cause a rift between the two parties. The spending habits and financial ability of the spouses can trigger uncertainties. The financial capabilities matter even if one party has more wages in his or her income statements.

Irreconcilable Differences

Some differences in a relationship are hard to overcome together. Simple things like religious and political views, sleeping habits, food and diet preferences, and values in life affect the balance between lovers. While couples vow to continue the relationship despite disparities, some partners are not compatible. Hence, divorce becomes a reasonable option for them.

Lack of Sincerity, Intimacy, and Equality

When two people are in a relationship, showing emotions creates a significant effect on the sides of the partners. Naturally, humans crave attention, intimacy, and affection from the people they love. And more than ever, spouses demand more of those feelings from their chosen partners. But when these elements are missing in the marriage, it can cause anger and disappointment. Thus, spouses look for love somewhere else and decide to undergo a divorce.

Lack of Proper Communication

Communication is an invaluable tool for everyone. Importantly, proper communication proves to be one of the key elements in maintaining a healthy and harmonious relationship among peers in a strategic alliance agreement in business. Like that, couples also need proper means of conversation to know the lapses and good points of each individual in the relationship. Without communication, both parties are in the dark and unsure of where the relationship is going.

How to Create a Divorce Settlement Agreement

Despite the affection that holds a relationship together, a variety of unfavorable factors often dictates another path for both individuals. When one of the parties finds unhappiness and less satisfaction in the marriage, the couple goes to counseling. But when it is not enough, a divorce seems necessary. In a way, the partners—through mutual consent and personal preference—have to end their written cohabitation agreement and part ways. When this happens, they have to divide everything. Through a divorce settlement agreement, the two can manage the break-up. So, what are the steps in making the document?

Step 1: Gather Information About Current Assets

Start things off by gathering sufficient information about the current assets you have under the joint accounts. Do you have joint agreements for business ventures? What is your personal financial statement? When you have necessary details on the properties that you own together with your spouse, determine the options in distributing the assets. List down all potential resources to avoid missing one piece from another.

Step 2: Look at the Household Debts or Loans

Naturally, every household has outstanding debts and loans. No matter the size of the money, it is still a borrowed resource. Now, when making the divorce property settlement agreement, make sure you know the status of the asset. How much is the present mortgage? You have to include a financial settlement agreement in the document to establish the bounds of the debts. Importantly, finance agreements should be a priority for both parties.

Step 3: Examine the Possible Division

After collecting all these crucial details, you must begin examining the possible ways of dividing the assets. Who would get the vehicles? How about figurines or sculptures? If the married couple runs a business together, the division will be challenging. The two parties should decide on the changes in the joint lease agreements and real estate contracts. At most, each party receives a share or percentage of the properties or assets.

Step 4: Discuss Child Support, Care, and Custody

Divorce comes quite easy for couples with no children. But if the partners have a child together, they can decide whether to go for sole custody or not. Toddlers usually go with their mothers, and the fathers provide spousal support. If the situation goes sour and the mother is unfit, the care or child support will go to the father. But when relationships are amicable, the two can share co-parenting agreements. Some parents have a living trust with the name of their son or daughter on the document.

FAQs

Can I change some of the provisions in the divorce settlement agreement?

Yes, you have the right to question the contents of the marriage separation agreement. As the previous better half of your partner, you have the jurisdiction over properties and assets accumulated during the timeline of the marriage. If the couple signed a prenuptial agreement before the wedding took place, the parties should honor the contract. Additionally, you can enter a modification clause to change some parts like loan agreements and apartment contracts found in the divorce agreement.

Is an attorney necessary when making the settlement?

When talking about divorce, doing everything by yourself will never work. You require professional advice and insight from a legal expert. If you need spousal support or child custody, a lawyer will help you through the process. With that, you should find a suitable attorney to help you with the family settlement agreement. Moreover, use a divorce settlement checklist and validation letters to organize thoughts and necessary documents.

What are some of the assets I might lose when I file for divorce?

After filing for divorce, the spouse will lose some assets gained during the course of the union. For instance, the parties need to use a divorce property settlement agreement to distribute acquired assets equally. If the couple has multiple vehicles, an auto contract should be part of the document. In addition, both parties have to get ownership agreements to settle retirement funds, credit cards, and stock accounts.

How long does a divorce settlement usually last?

The Hampton Roads Legal Services reports that the divorce proceedings, on average length, take up almost one year to finish. Although separated couples can live independently, they still have to wait for the completion of the divorce papers. When the divorce contract arrives through formal letters, the individuals will gain their independence from the other party.

American actress Valerie Bertinelli once quoted the word “happiness is a choice.” In this context, the concept of finding joy and contentment rests on the decision of every human being living on the planet. Whether a person decides to end a relationship or not, it is their preference. If divorce becomes the only option, then the person deserves free will. At the end of it all, what matters the most is the feelings and security of someone leaving a relationship to find peace and fulfillment in life.