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DIVORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS

It’s been said many times that the ending of a marriage is the most stressful thing a person can endure next to the death of a loved one. It is sometimes an overwhelming process and can include anxiety, emotional and financial distress. The attorneys and professionally trained staff at GHMA | LAW understand these elements of your divorce. Marriages don’t often deteriorate to the point of divorce when things are blissful. We can help you work through these issues and focus on a happier future.

What is a Divorce Settlement Agreement? 

Divorce settlement agreements may be referred to as other titles depending on what issues are specifically being resolved. Most commonly it is referred to as a “separation agreement”. A separation agreement is a legally enforceable contract entered into by spouses that resolves the issues related to their marriage. Parties may choose to enter into agreements that are as simple as establishing a date of separation, or a complex agreement dealing with all issues in dispute.  

Why an Agreement? 

Every marriage has unique circumstances, it is impossible for courts to create rules that fit every situation. You deserve unique resolutions that contemplate your family’s particular goals, and a negotiated settlement that ensures your family is not victimized by the less-than-individual approach the courts must take. Creative problem solving, mediation and negotiation are the benchmarks of lasting resolutions. During the process of divorce, you will be provided numerous opportunities to create agreements that will identify and respond to the particular needs of you and your family, in a timely fashion. By creating agreements, you will not be at the mercy of the court, waiting for an available court date. Nor will you spend additional funds engaging in contentious court hearings, hashing out all the details of your marriage in a public setting. We can help you ensure that you are protected and that every element of your marital picture is taken into consideration in the course of these negotiations.

What Can an Agreement Resolve? 

Negotiated Separation Agreements and Settlement Agreements ideally contain all the elements and answer all the questions that might come up in the course of dissolving a marriage. The biggest issues surrounding divorce, the welfare of your children,  your financial future and the division of your marital debts and assets can all be addressed in the context of a document called a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement. Specifically the issues an agreement can address includes: 

  • Child custody and child support
  • Property and debt division
  • Post separation support and alimony  

* the element below may not be screen reader friendly. It is a list of scrolling articles from our divorce blog.  See are full list of DIVORCE ARTICLES.

SEPARATION

When divorcing spouses are able to create agreements through mediation and negotiation, it is then up to the lawyers to craft a written document that fully memorializes those agreements. A well-crafted Marital Settlement Agreement may be the most important task your lawyer undertakes for you. 

While the court does not have to approve an agreement, in the event your circumstances change and modification or enforcement of your final order of divorce becomes necessary, your Settlement Agreement will be the controlling document for the court’s consideration. It is imperative your divorce documentation be prepared with the utmost consideration of this fact.

Even though agreement is central to a successful outcome in a divorce, it is essential that you obtain advice and guidance from an experienced family law attorney to ensure your agreement is appropriately taken into consideration all the elements your divorce may bring. The family law partners at GHMA | LAW are Board Certified Specialists in Family Law and have training, expertise, and experience to help guide you through the process and illuminate issues you probably won’t consider. Our lawyers craft complete, lasting agreements. And, in those cases where agreement cannot be reached, we are effective, dedicated trial lawyers.

If you need an attorney to represent you in the negotiation and preparation of a divorce settlement agreement or review an agreement you have been presented with by your spouse, the family law attorneys at GHMA | LAW are available to assist you. They are dedicated to ensuring you understand the long term implications that divorce can have and can help you reach a favorable outcome you deserve. 

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Black and white custom stock photography image of Janet Amburgey working at her desk making notes on a marital settlement agreement file.

DIVORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS

It’s been said many times that the ending of a marriage is the most stressful thing a person can endure next to the death of a loved one. It is sometimes an overwhelming process and can include anxiety, emotional and financial distress. The attorneys and professionally trained staff at GHMA | LAW understand these elements of your divorce. Marriages don’t often deteriorate to the point of divorce when things are blissful. We can help you work through these issues and focus on a happier future.

What is a Divorce Settlement Agreement? 

Divorce settlement agreements may be referred to as other titles depending on what issues are specifically being resolved. Most commonly it is referred to as a “separation agreement”. A separation agreement is a legally enforceable contract entered into by spouses that resolves the issues related to their marriage. Parties may choose to enter into agreements that are as simple as establishing a date of separation, or a complex agreement dealing with all issues in dispute.  

Why an Agreement? 

Every marriage has unique circumstances, it is impossible for courts to create rules that fit every situation. You deserve unique resolutions that contemplate your family’s particular goals, and a negotiated settlement that ensures your family is not victimized by the less-than-individual approach the courts must take. Creative problem solving, mediation and negotiation are the benchmarks of lasting resolutions. During the process of divorce, you will be provided numerous opportunities to create agreements that will identify and respond to the particular needs of you and your family, in a timely fashion. By creating agreements, you will not be at the mercy of the court, waiting for an available court date. Nor will you spend additional funds engaging in contentious court hearings, hashing out all the details of your marriage in a public setting. We can help you ensure that you are protected and that every element of your marital picture is taken into consideration in the course of these negotiations.

What Can an Agreement Resolve? 

Negotiated Separation Agreements and Settlement Agreements ideally contain all the elements and answer all the questions that might come up in the course of dissolving a marriage. The biggest issues surrounding divorce, the welfare of your children,  your financial future and the division of your marital debts and assets can all be addressed in the context of a document called a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement. Specifically the issues an agreement can address includes: 

  • Child custody and child support
  • Property and debt division
  • Post separation support and alimony  

When divorcing spouses are able to create agreements through mediation and negotiation, it is then up to the lawyers to craft a written document that fully memorializes those agreements. A well-crafted Marital Settlement Agreement may be the most important task your lawyer undertakes for you. 

While the court does not have to approve an agreement, in the event your circumstances change and modification or enforcement of your final order of divorce becomes necessary, your Settlement Agreement will be the controlling document for the court’s consideration. It is imperative your divorce documentation be prepared with the utmost consideration of this fact.

Even though agreement is central to a successful outcome in a divorce, it is essential that you obtain advice and guidance from an experienced family law attorney to ensure your agreement is appropriately taken into consideration all the elements your divorce may bring. The family law partners at GHMA | LAW are Board Certified Specialists in Family Law and have training, expertise, and experience to help guide you through the process and illuminate issues you probably won’t consider. Our lawyers craft complete, lasting agreements. And, in those cases where agreement cannot be reached, we are effective, dedicated trial lawyers.

If you need an attorney to represent you in the negotiation and preparation of a divorce settlement agreement or review an agreement you have been presented with by your spouse, the family law attorneys at GHMA | LAW are available to assist you. They are dedicated to ensuring you understand the long term implications that divorce can have and can help you reach a favorable outcome you deserve. 

SCHEDULE YOUR CONSULTATION

I Need Help With:

Divorce Articles

* the element below may not be screen reader friendly. It is a list of scrolling articles from our divorce blog.  See are full list of DIVORCE ARTICLES.

Common Questions & Concerns

We will do everything possible to structure your case so that you may obtain the best legal result. Punishing your spouse or winning an all-out, no holds-barred victory, however, is an unrealistic and unattainable goal. Your attorney's job is to represent your best interests, and to achieve the best resolution for you. His job is not to serve as your avenger. He cannot give you retribution for the sins of your spouse. If you enter this process expecting revenge and retribution, you will be sorely disappointed and unhappy with your attorney, yourself, and the outcome of your case, no matter how favorable that outcome may be to you. Before beginning the attorney-client relationship, you should make every effort to put your priorities in order, and realize that there are some things the legal system cannot provide.

Most people share the same fears, questions, and beliefs about divorce. The following are some of the most common of these fears, questions and beliefs.

Click on the titles below to toggle on and off pertinent information.

Emotions

In a domestic dispute, negative emotions such as hostility, anger, and revenge can needlessly delay a resolution and increase the cost. Perspective and objectivity, on the other hand, can promote a conclusion and reduce the cost.

Many factors may be involved in the breakup of your marriage, and you may feel indignation, anger and resentment toward your spouse. You may want to punish your spouse by making the process difficult and time-consuming. This type of thinking usually results in a no-win situation for everyone concerned.

... read more >>>

Reconciliation

Often, a potential client visits an attorney to discuss divorce, although they have not yet made the decision to take the big step. First, they want to know their options. Attorneys typically encourage them to explore alternatives, and often suggest how to protect themselves and meet their needs, short of divorce.

If your attorney raises the issue of reconciliation, he is not questioning or judging your decision. But, it is clarifying and confirming that you know your options, and that you want a divorce.

Your Spouse's Suggestions

The mediator’s role is to move the parties beyond personality clashes and historic grievances. Only then, can the mediator help you improve communication so any future dealings can take place without repeating the difficulties of the past. Mediation is a useful tool because it adds a new dimension to the negotiations. Because the mediator’s purpose is to help guide you to find solutions that you can both agree to, he/she does not have the power to decide your case, or in any other way, act as a judge nor does he/she have a fixed result in mind to urge you toward.

... read more >>>

Your Will

As you begin the divorce process, the first order of business is to review your will. If you do not have one, get one immediately. Succession laws may conflict with your wishes.

You may choose to consult David Hillier, of this law firm, regarding your will, as well as any financial concerns and considerations you may have.

Length of Time

Generally speaking, it is impossible to predict exactly how long the case will take. After the case is under way, and your attorney understands the issues, he will be better able to gauge the duration. How long it will take depends on the following factors:

  • The number and complexity of contested issues;
  • The attitudes of each of the parties, their attorneys, and their inclination to settle;

read more >>>

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process in which two or more people involved in a dispute come together voluntarily to try to develop a solution to their problem with the help of a neutral third person (or persons), called the mediator. Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, the mediator does not take sides or make decisions. The mediator, usually trained in conflict resolution, is there to help the disputants evaluate their goals and options in order to formulate their own solution. To achieve the fairest results possible, you both take an active part in your divorce and turn what could be a battle for control into a search for mutually beneficial solutions.

Does Mediation Work?

Mediation can take place over a series of sessions. But, more often than not, it is scheduled for a continuous amount of time to keep the negotiations going. Sessions are generally held in the privacy of the mediator’s office or an attorney’s office, and begin with all involved signing an agreement that the negotiations will be kept confidential. At the end of a successful mediation, the mediator will prepare a Memorandum or writing expressing the agreements of the parties, at least on the issues which were resolved. Any formal agreement will be drafted by your or your spouse’s lawyer.

What to Expect from Your Mediator

The mediator’s role is to move the parties beyond personality clashes and historic grievances. Only then, can the mediator help you improve communication so any future dealings can take place without repeating the difficulties of the past. Mediation is a useful tool because it adds a new dimension to the negotiations. Because the mediator’s purpose is to help guide you to find solutions that you can both agree to, he/she does not have the power to decide your case, or in any other way, act as a judge nor does he/she have a fixed result in mind to urge you toward.

... read more >>>

What are the Benefits of Mediation?

Mediators can increase the likelihood of a negotiated settlement by bringing the skills, creativity, and influence of trained, impartial third parties to bear on the problem. Perhaps more importantly, frequently mediation can save time and money.

Mediation keeps your options open and reduces issues of conflict. Although most who undertake mediation have a successful conclusion, some do not. If mediation doesn’t work, you can still sue and go to court or engage in arbitration.

... read more >>>

Counseling

Domestic disputes are emotionally charged. Clients are encouraged to seek counseling before and during the process. Counseling can help clients to work through their pain, accept the marriage’s end, learn coping skills, and pick up the pieces of their lives and go forward.

Don’t wait for your spouse to agree to participate. Individual counseling can help. Often, children and parents attend counseling together to alleviate the effects of a divorce or custody dispute on the children, and to help the family heal emotionally.

... read more >>>

Practical Matters

Litigation often spawns more litigation. To determine whether certain issues are worth litigating, you must weigh the price you will pay with your time, emotions, and money, against the anticipated outcome and its benefit to you. Again, your attorney will advise you on these matters.

Dating prior to the final divorce: Don’t, unless your attorney has specifically advised you that it is okay.

... read more >>>

Attorney Camaraderie

Attorneys who specialize in Divorce and Family Law will probably try many cases against each other over the years. They will attend the same professional events and, may even work on committees together. Camaraderie develops naturally over the years. Just because your attorney and your spouse’s attorney exchange pleasantries, share a joke, or have lunch together, does not mean that they are being disloyal to their clients. Your attorney is professionally committed to the best result for you given the facts of your case and the law. Being rude, hostile, or mean to opposing counsel does nothing to further your case and generally harms your case rather than helping.

Is Your Attorney Tough Enough?

All too often, the client has the attitude that a lawyer who is a “fighter” is a lawyer who refuses to cooperate with opposing counsel, makes demands and gets instant results, goes to court at the drop of a hat, and plays Perry Mason in court. This notion is sadly misguided.

The time to fight may be during tough negotiations or in court. But, not cooperating on routine matters accomplishes only greatly increased attorney fees because it requires both attorneys to do everything the hard way. Cooperation by the attorneys, as well as the parties, particularly during the discovery phase, is always in the best interest of the client.

Social Media

Social Media is a new facet of communication today. We understand that everyone participates in social media to some degree. When you are involved in divorce proceedings or any type of litigation for that matter, a good general practice is to avoid discussing any element of your case, or your spouse, in any social media forum. All social media is discoverable, and it never goes away. If you are considering divorce or litigation, be very careful what you say in online forums, including email attached to social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace.

Costs

Just as it is impossible to predict exactly how long your case will take, it is difficult to realistically estimate the total cost of your litigation, even when your attorney knows the issues that will be contested and the strength of the parties’ feelings. If you and/or your spouse have completely lost trust in one another, want complete discovery on all issues, and desire to argue many issues to the bitter end, the process will be long, drawn-out and expensive.   read more >>>

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