This document review list is given for your information and assistance in preparing it. Before proceeding, you should read the section on divorce in our Legal Guide on this disc.
A judge must be satisfied that the parties have agreed to settle their claims against one another before approving an uncontested divorce. Generally, the court will accept a settlement agreement such as this one, particularly if each party has obtained independent legal counsel. With this agreement, the settlement is formalized. A divorced couple might save money by requesting their separate attorneys to evaluate the document rather than writing it from start.
Prior to filing a divorce petition, you must fulfill the state’s residence criteria. This term is often between 90 and 365 days. The court will not approve the divorce unless at least one party has resided in the state for the requisite duration. Before proceeding, ensure that you fulfill the state’s residence requirement.
Each state has its own set of rules and standards for property division. State property laws can be classified into two categories: Community Property and Common Law.
In Community Property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin), any property acquired during the marriage is equally held by the Husband and Wife, regardless of who paid for it.
The laws and procedures of the Common Law states (all of the non-Community Property states) require that assets be dispersed “equitably.” The courts may consider a variety of variables, including the length of the marriage, each party’s earning capacity, lifestyle, and, in certain places, each party’s culpability for the marriage’s breakup.
By law, neither side is guaranteed alimony. The majority of courts have significant discretion in determining whether and how much alimony should be awarded. When two career spouses cohabit, courts typically opt out of requiring alimony payments.
The most challenging area to manage is kid custody and care. Parents must resolve the conflict between the right to make traditional parenting decisions (legal custody) and the right to physical custody. Historically, there was a presumption that child custody should remain with the mother. In contemporary law, the tendency is toward “shared custody.” The parents share legal custody, physical custody, or both in this scenario. Numerous courts continue to believe that the woman is the better custodial parent, making it difficult for men who insist on an equal role.
One parent will almost certainly be obliged to pay child support to the other. To determine how much support should be handed out and who should pay it, states currently have guidelines in place. Certain states’ courts have the authority to diverge from these criteria, while others do not. To obtain information on your state’s rules, contact a local attorney or the clerk of the state court.
College tuitions are often optional, which is why they are left out of this agreement.
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Property Settlement Agreement
This Property Settlement (“Agreement”) is made and effective _______________, by and between _______________________(“Wife”) of _________________________, and ______________________ (“Husband”) of ________________________.
The parties were married on _____________ in_____________________, and have since that time been and are now by law Husband and Wife.
The parties have minor children. The children’s names and ages are:
It is the desire of the parties by execution of this Agreement, to fully and for all time settle and determine the property rights of the parties, all rights of support and maintenance, all rights and claims arising out of he marriage relationship including dower, curtesy, maintenance, inheritance and homestead, together with any and all other rights existing between the parties or claims one against the other, arising out of the marriage relationship of the termination of said relationship, or otherwise, independent and regardless of the circumstances
THEREFORE, each of the parties hereto, in consideration of the mutual promises, covenants and promises to enter into and abide by this agreement.
The parties shall have join care, custody and control of their minor children with primary residence beginning with the wife but it being understood that the husband shall be given primary residency rights for the children for some reasonable time prior to the children reaching their majority.
It shall be the mutual responsibility of Husband and Wife to arrange for the transportation
of a child for visitation rights to the nonprimary residence parent. Each party shall give the other at least 48 hours notice if he or she does not intend to exercise his or her rights to visitation on a particular occasion.
Each of the parties shall supply the other with his or her current address and telephone number and hall advise the other of any changes which may occur and shall keep the other advised as to the hereabouts of the minor children.
Under the above-described residential custodial arrangement, the Custodial Parent shall have the primary daily responsibility for the guidance and upbringing of the minor children while the minor children are in the Custodial Parent’s residence. Both parties have the right to participate with the other in affecting a child including, but not exclusively limited to, authorization for major medical, mental, institutional, psychiatric, or other cares, schooling and educational placement, to inspect and receive records, and to inspect and receive medical records. Such decisions shall be made only after prior consultation with the other party.
During the period in which a minor child resides with one party, the other party (“Support Payer”) shall pay the monthly sum of $___________ not later than the 10th day of each month for which support is due. Such obligations with respect to a minor child shall cease as to that child upon such child experiencing any of the following events:
Death; Marriage; Becoming self-supporting; Ceasing any residence with the primary custodial parent; Dropping out of school; on their 18th birthday.
If the Support Payer has his or her financial situation impacted such as a loss of employment, reduction in pay, disability, or other such thing, the Support Payer may either negotiate a reduced sum with the other parent or use Court guidelines as to what sums are appropriate to pay based on their last year’s federal tax return.
Each party shall maintain life insurance of at least $__________ in favor of the other as long as one child is less than 16 years old. Upon their 16th birthday, with only two years of child support to go, both parties may cease to pay for this life insurance. If the life insurance is not available upon the time of death, prior to the 16th birthday, then the other party shall have a claim against the estate of the Support Payer for any deficiency.
A. The Support Payer shall have the right to claim all children as dependent exemptions.
B. Each party agrees to provide a release to his or her claim to any such exemption pursuant to Section 152(e)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, as reasonably requested by the party entitled to such exemption, to be provided by January 31 of each year.
Change of Residence.
The residence of a minor child subject to this Agreement shall not be changed without the written agreement of the other parent or by Court order.
Each of the parties shall keep the other informed on all matters relating to the health, education and welfare and other matters which shall be the subject of consultation between the parties: school work, activities, schedules, and such things.
Medical and Dental Expenses.
A. ____________________ shall maintain for the benefit of each minor child, medical insurance benefits. All medical and dental expenses and costs not covered by the above described insurance for the benefit of a minor child shall be paid by the parties as follows: _________________. This provision shall include, but not be limited to, all medical and dental costs and expenses not covered under said insurance overage, all medical and dental costs which are applied to insurance deductibles and all medical and dental costs remaining after insurance has paid the covered portion of each claim.
The obligations to provide medical insurance for the benefit of a minor child shall be null and void at such time as the child is no longer an insured party under the medical insurance policy by reason of a change in the subject child’s age, residency, student or marital status.
A. ___________________ (“Maintenance Payer”) shall pay to the other party, and the other party agrees to accept, in complete satisfaction of any claim which may now or hereafter be made for alimony, support or maintenance, the sum of $__________ per month for __ months when it shall cease forever. The foregoing maintenance payments shall cease upon the first happening of one of the following events:
1. Death of either party;
2. Remarriage or cohabitation (defined broadly) of the party entitled to receive the maintenance payments.
B. For purposes of this Agreement, cohabitation means living in a residential, conjugal relationship with another person for a substantially consecutive period of 30 days.
Division of Property
Household Goods and Personal Effects.
Wife shall have as her sole and separate personal property, free and clear of all right, title, claim or interest of Husband, all of the following household goods, personal property, furnishings and household appliances: ____________________________.
Husband shall have as his sole and separate property, free and clear of all right, title, claim or interest f life, all of the following household goods, personal property, furnishings and household appliances: ______________________________________.
All of the personal property and effects transferred to a party hereunder and presently in the possession of the other party shall be removed within ten (10) days of the execution of this Agreement.
Wife shall have as her sole and separate property the following vehicle(s): _________ free and clear of all right, title, claim or interest of Husband, subject to any encumbrance thereon.
Husband shall have as his sole and separate property the following vehicle(s): _______], free and clear of all right, title, claim or interest of Wife, subject to any encumbrance thereon.
The following described real estate shall be transferred to Wife free and clear of all right, title, claim of Husband: ___________________________________.
The following described real estate shall be transferred to Husband free and clear of all right, title, claim of Wife: __________________________________.
Money Accounts, Profit-Sharing Plans and Retirement Benefits.
Wife shall be entitled to the whole amount in the following checking, savings, money market and other accounts: __________________________________________.
Husband shall be entitled to the whole amount in the following checking, savings, money market and other accounts: __________________________________________.
The pension and profit sharing transfers referenced above are directed by the parties to be accomplished through instructions to plan administrators to be completed by the party in whose interest the benefit, plan, pension, or account is now listed.
Wife shall be entitled to the whole amount in the following securities, bonds, mutual funds and other accounts: __________________________________________.
Husband shall be entitled to the whole amount in the following securities, bonds, mutual funds and other accounts: __________________________________________.
Encumbrances Against Property.
Except as specifically provided herein, any property set aside to a party hereunder, whether real or personal, is accepted subject to existing encumbrances which that party assumes and agrees to pay.
Both Husband and Wife herein state and contract their agreement, each to the other, whereby the party receiving property subject to encumbrance hereby indemnifies the transferring party from any and all liability which such transferring party may suffer as a result of any default upon the encumbrance obligation.
Husband and Wife shall be individually responsible for any debts or bills incurred by either of them individually after the date of this Agreement. Each party specifically agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the other party from any loss, claim, suit of law and/or judgment which the other party might suffer by reason of the responsible party failing to meet his or her obligations as stated herein.
The parties specifically agree that upon the execution of this Agreement, all credit cards and charge cards n the possession or control of one party for which the other party is primarily liable shall be returned to he party with primary liability. In the event the parties have any credit cards or charge cards for which they are jointly liable, such cards will be promptly canceled. Nothing in this Agreement shall prevent either party from keeping or using credit cards or charge cards for which he or she is solely liable.
Federal and State Income Tax Returns.
Unless otherwise agreed, the parties shall file joint federal and state income tax returns until the year a divorce decree is entered by a competent court.
The parties agree that each shall be individually responsible for the intangible, personal and real property taxes due subsequent to the execution of this Agreement with reference to the items of property satisfied to each of them under the provisions of this Agreement.
Submission to Court.
In the event a petition for divorce, separate maintenance or annulment comes before a court of appropriate jurisdiction for trial or other disposition, this Agreement may be submitted to the Court for such action as the Court may determine proper.
In the event that this Agreement is submitted to a court as aforesaid and is by such court accepted and incorporated into a decree of divorce, separate maintenance or annulment, all sums to be paid as support maintenance hereunder shall be made in cash or by check or money order payable to the other party.
Execution of Instruments.
Each of the parties agrees that at any time reasonably requested, he or she shall make, execute and deliver to the other any and all deeds of conveyance, bills of sale, titles, tax exemption declarations or any other instrument which may be necessary to carry out the terms of this Agreement or to reflect the agreement of he parses.
This Agreement is absolute and irrevocable and, therefore, is not conditioned upon the parties hereto being divorced or upon court approval. It is by the parties agreed that this Agreement shall be considered o be contractual between them and binding as such upon the parties, their executors, administrators, heirs, devisees, beneficiaries, assigns and other legal representatives.
Free Will Exercised.
Each of the parties acknowledges that this Agreement, as to each of its provisions, has been made of his or her free will and volition and further acknowledges that no coercion, force, pressure or undue influence as been used or exerted by or against the other party.
Independent Counsel and Full Disclosure.
The parties declare that each has had the independent advice of his or her own counsel, or has rejected such counsel, and that each disclosed to such counsel and/or to the other party the full extent and nature of is or her assets, liabilities, income and expenses.
The parties agree that this Agreement shall be construed enforced according to the laws of the State of ____________.
Husband or Wife] shall be responsible for the court costs herein.
The parties shall be responsible for their own attorney’s fees. Except as otherwise expressly agreed or ordered by the Court, each party shall be responsible for all other of his or her own individual attorney’s fees, incurred on the negotiation of this Agreement or any enforcement or edification of this Agreement in the future.
Each of the parties waives the right of appeal of ajudgment of divorce, which may be granted in any action in which this Agreement is submitted to the Court and approved in its entirety.
Mutual Release of Marital Rights.
In consideration of the mutual release contained in this Section, each of the parties hereby releases the other party and his or her respective legal representatives, successors and assigns, from any claim of any individual, and specifically relinquishes any right, title or interest in or to any of the earnings, accumulations, future investments, money or property of the other, any rights of inheritance in the estate of the other, which either may have heretofore, may now or may hereafter have, except as otherwise provided in this agreement, any rights to elect to take against the will of the other, any rights to act as executor or administrator of the will or estate of the other, any rights to receive any allowance from the estate of the other, any additional right which either party has or may have by reason of their marriage, including dower.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have signed this Agreement upon the date first above written.
Property Settlement Agreement
This review list is provided to inform you about this document and assist you in its preparation. You should read about divorce in our Legal Guide on this disc before proceeding.
Before a court will approve an uncontested divorce, the court must be satisfied that the parties have agreed to settle their claims against each other. The court will usually accept a settlement agreement, like this one, particularly if each party has had the advice of an independent attorney. The settlement is put in writing with this agreement. The divorcing couple can save money on legal fees by asking their respective lawyers to review it, not write it from scratch.
Before you can file a petition for divorce, you must meet the state’s residency requirements. This period is usually between 90 days and a year. Until at least one person has lived in the state for the required period, the court will not grant the divorce. Make sure that you meet a state’s residency requirement before proceeding.
Each state has its own laws and guidelines for dividing property. The state laws controlling property division can be divided into two categories: Community Property and Common Law.
In Community Property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin), any property purchased during the marriage, regardless of who paid for it, is owned equally by the Husband and Wife.
In the Common Law states (all of the non-Community Property states), the laws and rules direct that assets be distributed in an “equitable” fashion. The courts may take into account any number of factors, such as the length of the marriage, each party’s earning power, lifestyle and, in some states, the fault of each party in the breakdown of the marriage.
Alimony is not guaranteed to either party by law. Most courts have considerable discretion about whether and how much alimony should be paid. With two career couples, courts usually choose not to require any alimony payments.
The most difficult area to handle is the custody and care of minor children. Parents must sort through the issues of the right to make traditional parental decisions about the child (legal custody) and the right to physical custody. Historically, there was a presumption that custody with the mother was viewed as best for the child. The trend in modern law is to award “joint custody”. In this case, the parents share legal custody, physical custody, or both. Many courts still adhere to the notion that the mother is the best custodial parent, making it an uphill battle for fathers that insist on taking an equal role.
It is almost certain that one parent will be required to pay child support to the other. States now have standards for determining how much support should be paid, and by whom. Courts in some states may deviate from these standards, while others cannot. For information about your state’s guidelines, contact a local lawyer or state court’s clerk.
College costs are usually optional and are left so in this agreement.