A divorce settlement agreement is a written document which is used to preserve any agreements between divorcing or separating spouses.
In most cases, the following factors are involved in this agreement:
- Child support
- Child custody
- The division of property
An agreement is not needed to file for divorce. You would be best served, however, to settle your case as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary strain and attorney's fees. When you do take to writing an agreement, it is advisable that you have an attorney with you, or have an attorney look over an agreement if your spouse's attorney has written one already. Without legal help, an agreement may be unfair to you without your knowledge of it.
If you have reached an agreement with your spouse before going to divorce court, an attorney can draw up a formal agreement and once signed, this becomes a binding contract you and your spouse will be obliged to keep. Failure to come to an agreement will mean you will both be in court and a judge will decide the issues for you.
Do I have to sign an agreement?
You are not obligated to sign any proposed divorce agreement. Bear in mind that if you act unreasonably, your spouse may pull out of the negotiations completely. If you both agree, it is best to have an attorney to write a formal agreement since they are well-versed in the language to use regarding state laws and all legal provisions. It is not advisable that you hire the same attorney. If you and your spouse do in fact agree on all major points, it is recommended that you both try divorce mediation which is easier and less expensive than divorce court.
Lastly, you may modify your divorce agreement if you both want to. You simply need to enter into a modification agreement noting the changes, which can then be incorporated into a new court order.
For legal advice and representation, call an Orange County divorce attorney who can walk you through the stages of settlement agreements, mediation, and divorce.