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Plan carefully when entering into a divorce settlement agreement

Not every couple who decides that a marriage is no longer sustainable will default to antagonistic behaviors. In fact, some couples are able to enter into a divorce settlement agreement amicably. However, every state has its own laws, and California couples may choose to exercise caution when considering these types of contracts.

There are several key points to keep in mind when these agreements are being drafted. First and foremost is whether the state permits these agreements and to what extent they can be employed. Some matters are reserved for the courts to determine, depending on the circumstances and whether the rights of both parties are protected. Additionally, there may be matters that can not be addressed in a private document and will need to be formalized in a court.

These agreements may also require signatures of the involved parties and to be entered into the formal divorce proceedings by a judge in order for the settlement to be part of the formal decree. It may also be beneficial to ensure that the document is enforceable and not subject to revocation, depending upon certain conditions or changes in personal circumstances. Furthermore, it may also benefit the former couple to address issues such as an impending bankruptcy or anticipated expenses such as a college education for a child.

In general, if a couple can arrive at a settlement and avoid much of the conflict that often accompanies divorce proceedings, this is so much better for the parties involved. However, every situation is unique and deserves careful consideration to ensure that both parties are prepared to embark on their new separate lives once the final decree is issued. California families may choose to consult a family law attorney in order to determine the best settlement terms for their particular needs and future goals.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Settlement Agreements May Not Be Legally Binding", Brad Reid, June 30, 2017

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