A divorce settlement agreement is a comprehensive document that outlines the agreement between divorcing spouses which is submitted to the court and becomes the terms of the divorce judgement. Among the important issues addressed in a settlement agreement are:
Parenting Time Agreement
If there are children from the marriage, a detailed parenting time schedule serving the best interests of the child will be included. This may cover the number of overnights each parent will have with the child, how holidays will be split, transportation details, and how any changes in schedule will be handled.
Spousal and Child Support
Oftentimes, both child support and spousal maintenance are at issue when couples divorce. Child support is a calculation derived from the income of both parties and the agreed upon parenting time arrangement, so details on both will be included as the basis for calculating the support. Spousal support should include the amount that will be paid each month, for how long, and any reasons why it would terminate such as remarriage.
Life Insurance to Cover Support Obligation
When a spouse or child is depending on the support payments of an ex-spouse or parent, it is wise to include a provision in the divorce settlement requiring the paying spouse to maintain life insurance naming the ex as the beneficiary. This will ensure that the obligation is met in the event of a payor’s untimely death.
401ks, IRA’s Retirement Accounts
Many couples have retirement accounts subject to the division in a divorce. Retirement accounts often require a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to divide that assets so the divorce settlement should address who will complete and cover the cost of the QDRO and the timeframe for completion.
The Family Home
The family home is often the largest asset most couples own. If one spouse is staying on in the home, the settlement should include details regarding a timeframe for refinancing. If one spouse is unable to qualify for refinancing or if the couple decides right off the bat that they want to sell the home and split the proceeds, the divorce settlement should include details about the sale of the home, such as who will foot the expense to prepare the house for sale, who will pay the real estate agent fees, what the house will be listed at and the terms for excepting an offer. The couple should agree to stick to a timeline, and come up with an alternate strategy if the house does not sell.
Contact an Experienced Illinois Divorce Lawyer
There are many issues to tackle in a divorce settlement agreement. If you and your spouse are able to work out the some or all of the terms of your divorce on your own, it will be less costly. That said, many couples who are facing divorce have limited communication so it may be that your respective attorneys will work out the terms of your divorce in consultation with the parties. Being knowledgeable about the issues will help you to make the best decisions for you and your family. Contact Ronald L. Bell & Associates for drafting a comprehensive settlement agreement with your spouse.