You can look at the sample separation agreement on the home site and draw up one yourself. You can have the lawyer look over it to see if there’s anything that needs to be fixed but your lawyer’s job doesn’t begin unless you go to court. Your attorney should know that if you pay $1400 a month, then that is what the courts will expect you to continue paying. You will have to go back to court to modify that amount. More court time, more money for the attorney.
If you can, you should sit down with your stbx and discuss the mutual issues. It will be much cheaper for you both if you can agree on these issues. Look at the big picture when you’re deciding these things. If it’s going to be a problem that she has a vehicle you pay for, then you should let her know that by x date, you need the vehicle to be refinanced out of your name or have the vehicle back in your possession. The custody & child support you will have to look at as raising your children separately together.
You can draw up a separation agreement stating that at the time of absolute divorce, the truck will be returned to your possession in relatively the same condition as is now, within reason for usage. This way, she has until your divorce is final to use the truck so that she has transportation for the children. Prior to that time, she will need to get the truck transferred to her name or find another vehicle. If you would allow her to have the truck that is.
You should begin paying the child support by the guidelines or put into the agreement an amount that you think is fair within reason of the guideline amount. Be sure to include all that you pay now. The agreement can include ED, custody, child support, alimony. It can “settle” any and all debts or outstanding issues so that when it comes time to divorce, you do not have to do it all then.
Best scenario is that you have joint physical & legal custody with equal time, you must specify what joint custody means, anything and everything for the children is divided between you except immediate needs when the child/children are with you. If they need shoes, then you buy them shoes. Next time, she buys. School supplies, lunches, field trips, same deal. Or you pay and have her give you 1/2 the money back. Medical insurance can be tricky but if you are willing to work together on custody you can arrange that whichever parent’s insurance is better and cheaper, can carry the children and the other parent pays them back a portion. Any co-pays and medications can be split too.
The thing to keep in mind is that if you and the stbx can work out an agreement between yourselves and it’s reasonable, there is no reason for any of it to ever go to court. Taking custody, child support, ED and divorce all to court is VERY costly, time consuming and emotional.
Keep a journal of major events, where the children stay and an account of all money spent. …I still keep a journal after 5 years, just in case.