A divorce agreement is a formal legal document used when couples legally separate or file for divorce. It documents the couple's agreements about how they will manage and share their finances, property and care and custody of their children. Divorce agreements are legally binding and in some jurisdictions must be approved by the court before they take effect legally. Because divorce and separation laws vary from state to state, you should consult an attorney or certified mediator before writing a divorce agreement.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Negotiate any contested issues before you prepare the agreement. Talk to your spouse about each issue you plan to include, and make sure you do not have any unresolved disputes. If you cannot reach an agreement on your own, consult with a divorce mediator to work through these issues before writing a divorce agreement.
Make provisions for your joint property. Specify in the divorce agreement which parties will live in your marital residence and who will be responsible for making mortgage payments. List your joint property, including household goods, and outline which spouse plans to take each item.
Discuss child custody and visitation if you have children. List your proposed custody and visitation arrangement in the divorce agreement. Include details regarding holidays, vacations and your co-parenting plan, if you have one.
List your joint monetary assets and debts in the divorce agreement, and provide details about how you plan to divide them.
Outline plans for child support and alimony. If either party is seeking child or spousal support, list this in your divorce agreement. Each spouse must fill out a jurisdiction-specific financial affidavit and submit it with the completed divorce agreement. Obtain a copy of the financial affidavit from the clerk of the court or your local child support enforcement office.
Sign and date the divorce agreement in front of a notary public.
Tips and warnings
- Divorce laws vary from state to state. Consider asking an attorney to review your divorce agreement to ensure that it is enforceable and in compliance with your jurisdiction's laws.
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