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A Divorce Agreement is a contract entered into by a married couple that describes how the couple will handle their family responsibilities and protect and divide their marital assets as they move through the process of dissolving their marriage.
This document can be used to create either:
- a temporary agreement that will only remain in place until a new agreement is created in the form of a divorce decree; or
- an agreement that will be incorporated into a final divorce decree and remain in place after the divorce is completed.
This Agreement addresses issues of child and spousal support, division of debts and assets, child custody and parenting time arrangements, and division of the marital home. This method can lessen, or even eliminate, the need for court intervention. For documents that focus only on specific aspects of divorce, please see documents such as the Child Support Agreement, the Child Custody Agreement, or the Spousal Support Demand Letter.
Parties may use this document if:
Divorce can be a long and confusing process that is overwhelming for all parties involved. For more information about how to simplify the divorce process, please see the guide How to Get Divorced.
How to use this document
Working together, both Parties can use this document to record any agreements they come to regarding their Divorce. There are sections including spousal support, division of property and assets, child support, child custody, and visitation schedules. The Parties should complete any applicable sections and disclose any information necessary for both Parties to make informed decisions about their decisions and compromises. If there are prior existing child custody or support orders or property division agreements, the Parties can choose to incorporate their terms into this Agreement by attaching the associated paperwork to this document. The Parties may also use this document to amend and change already existing agreements.
After completing the Divorce Agreement, the Parties may independently consult attorneys. The Parties may agree, particularly if the Agreement includes the division of property, to each consult with an attorney prior to executing the document due to the nature of the important and personal rights involved. If desired, there is an option to sign the document in front of their attorneys and have their attorneys complete paperwork acknowledging that they've witnessed the signing of the document.
Once the Parties have completed the Agreement and had it reviewed to their satisfaction, they can take the document before a judge. If the Court decides that the Agreement is fair to all concerned parties, it may be signed into an order of the Court as a final judgement of Divorce
Divorce and separation is generally a matter of state law, with different states having different laws dictating the time and manner in which a divorce is completed.
In order to file for divorce in a state, you must meet that state's residency requirements. Some states require longer residency periods that others prior to filing for divorce. Further, some states have additional requirements in order to file for divorce in that state. Currently, Louisiana, South Dakota, Iowa, Alaska, and Washington state are the only states who do not have residency requirements. You can find the residency requirements for your state by checking with your the County Clerk's office where you plan to file for divorce.
In determining matters related to children, such as child custody, visitation, and support, a Court must approve any arrangement using a "best interests of the child" standard. Generally, if both parents come to an agreement regarding these matters, a Court will be willing include the agreement in the official legal documents. However, the possibility remains that a Court will require an adjustment of the agreement if they determine that the arrangement is not in the best interests of the child(ren) involved.
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