8 Things to Consider in a Divorce Agreement


Once you begin the divorce process, the ultimate goal is to reach a divorce agreement or settlement. This written document is legally binding and documents the terms of your divorce and any issues you and your spouse wish to settle. It helps to regulate any issues that arise during the divorce process. It’s normal to enlist the services of a divorce attorney for this. While divorce can be difficult and emotionally challenging, it’s in your best interests to reach a divorce agreement. To navigate this essential step, you should know the top things to consider in a divorce agreement. With that in mind, here are the top things to consider in a divorce agreement.

Property Distribution

For most couples, one of the top things to consider in a divorce agreement is how the property will be distributed. When it comes to property distribution, the most important thing to remember is that the property that will be distributed includes only marital assets that are shared. Regardless of the state you live in, there will be no mediation over assets that are owned separately. Separate property typically includes any property that was owned before the marriage took place or inherited property. It’s important to speak to your family attorney to determine how separate and marital property is defined in your state.

Your family law attorney will also give you in-depth insights into state laws that affect the division of property in your divorce. Knowing how the law applies to your situation is crucial if you hope to negotiate with your spouse and reach an amicable agreement. Generally speaking, property division depends on whether your state uses the community property rule. In a community property state, all your marital property is equally owned and split equally. Still, there are some differences from state to state, so it’s essential to find a local divorce attorney that understands these specific state laws.

Child Custody

If a couple is divorcing and they have kids, then it inevitably follows that one of the top things to consider in a divorce agreement is child custody. This is a sensitive issue that often requires specialized divorce assistance from custody lawyers that know how to navigate this type of agreement. If you’re divorcing and the topic of child care comes up, it’s important to understand the difference between legal custody and physical custody. To make a long story short, physical custody is the scenario where you stay with the child under one roof. You’ll be responsible for the day-to-day care of the child as the custodial parent. On the other hand, legal custody gives parents the right to make decisions regarding the child’s care and welfare.

As with most instances, the laws that apply to child custody vary from state to state. In that case, it’s best to consult with a family law attorney that can help you arrive at the best arrangement that has the child’s best interests at heart. Whether you’re considering a sole custody arrangement, joint custody, or a split custody arrangement, it’s possible for both parents to reach an agreement together. This informal settlement negotiation is usually beneficial to the children involved in the custody agreement since there’s less strife involved.

Child Support

Besides child custody, it’s also common for couples to consider child support in their divorce agreement. Although in most instances, the court gives the judgment on child support, parents can also reach a child support agreement outside of court with the help of a family lawyer. Child support agreements are a type of informal negotiation that cover a lot of topics. Common things to consider in a divorce agreement that includes child custody are who will pay child custody, how much they’ll pay, how often they’ll pay, and how long the child support payments will continue. Sometimes parents can negotiate the agreement without the assistance of attorneys. However, in most cases, it’s preferable to let the attorney handle the issue as this facilitates a smoother negotiation.

Negotiating a child support agreement is also referred to as an alternative dispute resolution since it means that parents are undergoing the process without the involvement of the courts. The biggest advantage of an alternative dispute resolution is that it involves fewer battles between spouses. Instead, the divorcing couple is encouraged to work together to reach an agreement that benefits the children. When there’s less conflict, this makes it easier and faster to finalize the divorce proceedings so everyone can move on with their lives.

Distribution of Debts

Top on the list of things to consider in a divorce agreement is how the debts are going to be distributed. When a couple is divorcing, money issues are often at the center of never-ending conflicts. Therefore, it’s important to clear the matter in an adversary-free environment. Unfortunately, in cases where the couple has accumulated debt, it may be difficult to separate the process of dividing debt. To keep the negotiations civil, it’s best to hire a separation agreement attorney that can help the couples reach an agreeable conclusion. Unlike the scenario where a couple is dividing assets, where debts are being divided, no one will be fighting to keep the debt. To navigate the situation, you first have to consider how the state you live in deals with the matter at hand.

In states where equitable distribution applies, the debt and property will be split according to what the judge deems fair after assessing the situation. In any case, both spouses are responsible for the marital debt, which is debt incurred during the marriage. That said, keep in mind that fair distribution of debt or property doesn’t always mean equal distribution. In states where the community property rule applies, the distribution of property and debt is designed to be 50-50. Again, it’s recommended that you sit down and discuss your case with a local lawyer because each state has its own divorce laws, whether it’s an equitable distribution state or a community property state.

Life Insurance

Dealing with life insurance is a crucial aspect of the divorce process. However, the divorce process is always a difficult one, even when it’s an amicable divorce. Although life insurance is usually not on top of things to consider during a divorce agreement. However, life insurance should not be overlooked because it can help protect your assets in the future. The important thing is to remember that the purpose of life insurance is to cover financial responsibilities which still remain even when a couple divorces.

When you sit down to discuss your issues with a divorce attorney, you may need to provide documentation that outlines your financial situation when it comes to current assets, liabilities, and insurance policies. You should also prepare a list of questions to ask your attorney so that you understand the matter clearly. Common questions to ask include, what happens to life insurance policies after the divorce, the insurance obligations you face, and the best way to calculate the appropriate amount of life insurance.

Retirement Accounts

To understand how retirement accounts are divided, you also have to understand the basic rules of property division. Although there may be some specific rules that influence the distribution of retirement accounts, it’s good to begin by understanding the basic rules of property division when it comes to these assets. When spouses are getting divorced, it’s normal to have questions that you need to be answered. For instance, you might be interested in knowing whether the retirement account is considered marital property or separate property. The rule of thumb is that property is only split between the spouses when it’s considered marital property.

So, if one party was contributing to the retirement account and it increased in value before the marriage, this portion of the retirement account belongs to them. However, if there are contributions and increases during the divorce, this portion of the retirement account is not considered separate. Instead, it’s considered marital property and has to be divided between the two couples. When it comes to the division of retirement accounts, keep in mind there are different types of retirement accounts. Retirement accounts can be classified as individual retirement accounts, 401(k), and defined-benefit pension plans. When coming to a divorce agreement, couples can decide on their own how they choose to divide their marital assets. However, the agreement has to be deemed fair. Otherwise, a judge might not approve it.


When a couple is determining the things to consider in a divorce agreement, they may also touch on the topic of co-parenting. When two ex-spouses are actively engaged in a co-parenting agreement, they take care of their children as a team. That means the children will have two homes and parents who are willing to act in their best interests. For instance, a couple may reach a co-parenting agreement where they both agree to make joint decisions on issues pertaining to their children. Booth parents will be required to attend any activities involving the children, and neither party will make major decisions, such as medical or school placement decisions, without involving the other.

In addition, the parties will agree to problem solve together in a nonadversarial environment that positively impacts the children. All in all, a co-parenting agreement mainly focuses on finding ways to raise the children in the best family setup while separated. An effective co-parenting agreement should emphasize mutual respect between both parties and encourage the parents to communicate as much as possible on issues related to the children. Should any conflicts arise where both parties fail to agree on something, then it may be necessary to bring in a mediator. Mediation can help the parties to reach an agreement concerning various family and child custody issues. Respect is one of the key factors to an effective co-parenting agreement. It’s necessary for couples to acknowledge and respect each other’s differences regardless of parenting techniques and to focus on the best interests of the children.


The list of things to consider in a divorce agreement can be pretty long and can extend to alimony. Either party can ask for alimony as part of the divorce proceeding. If your spouse is on the same page as you, you can then request that the judge include this agreement in the court order. Generally, if you’re settling out of court, it means both parties are in agreement. Otherwise, it becomes necessary to include the courts. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that alimony isn’t automatically included in a divorce agreement. It’s something that you have to actively consider, so it’s important to understand how alimony works before asking your spouse for it.

Alimony refers to when your spouse has to make payments to you as per your agreement or court order. Alimony is also referred to as spousal support and maintenance. If you’re interested in including alimony in your divorce agreement, you’ll need to consult with an experienced attorney that will help you understand the applicable state laws. They’ll also help you understand how alimony works. For instance, alimony is designed to ensure that both spouses are in a position to meet their financial needs. Alimony can also be gender neutral, meaning the ex-husband can receive alimony. There are also different types of alimony, such as temporary alimony, permanent alimony, and rehabilitative alimony.

These are the top things to consider in a divorce agreement. Regardless of your personal circumstances and the details of your divorce, a divorce agreement can provide a more peaceful method of finalizing your divorce. Many couples prefer to settle privately as this can make the divorce process more amicable. When you engage directly with your spouse instead of in front of a judge, this provides you with better control over the process. When negotiating a settlement, it’s in your best interests to understand things to consider in a divorce agreement that matter to you. Overall, reaching a settlement offers a greater deal of privacy and can help you avoid the significant costs associated with a contested divorce.

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