Final draft of seperation agreement!

It’s been a long 3 months but x and i have finally agreed to all the terms of our seperation (ed, alimony, custody, support) the agreement has been drafted i have an apt with my attorney on monday to ask questions/make any changes and then we sign.

There’s a ton of legalease in there that I don’t understand t hat i’m sure she’ll explain. My question is what single “clause” is the most important? w hat is something that seperation agreements don’t tpically address that clients later wished it had?

I feel like this is such a huge life changing agreement and once it’s made i’m stuck with it and i don’t want to forget anything. I’ve been scouring the net for sample agreements but any additional input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again for all your help, my legal bills would be tripled w/out this forum!

That’s a very hard question to answer since what is important varies person to person depending upon their outlook and experiences.

I’d say that you want (as either party) to well-define your role in the SA. Do not leave vague language around because it allows for too much interpretation that could draw you into conflict or court in the future.

A vague statement like “parties agree to split all medical/dental expenses for the children” is too vague. Say your ex has decided that one of the children needs to have dental veneers even though there’s nothing wrong with their teeth. Now you have to pay for a portion of that expense. Or, what if your child needs to have some sort of medical procedure, and your ex makes twice the money that you do? Because it’s so vaguely worded, he could insist that the cost get split 50/50 rather than in proportion to income.

One of the other things that I would probably insist on putting in is something about extracurricular activities. Too often there seems to be disputes about after school activities, about what they are, when they take place and how they are paid. I’ve seen parents sign their kids up for classes/camps on the weekends that they are supposed to see the other parent…or sign the child up for an activity that the other parent can’t afford but demand a portion or even all of the cost get paid by the other parent. Sometimes even what they are can cause difficulty. Bible camps that go against the other parent’s faith, marksmanship lessons when the other parent is anti-gun, boxing lessons when the child is already showing signs of aggression towards other family members, etc. Why be forced into funding something that goes against your mores?

Anyhow, the whole thing I’m getting at is to create a document that is flexible enough to permit either parent to have the ability to pay for items/activities for their child even should the worst happen, yet be defined enough so that if something is in the agreement, there is little room for interpretations that might lead back to court in the future which is a no-win for everyone, including the children.

The most important thing is to go over the agreement with your attorney line-by-line so you understand what you’re signing.

not an attorney

Try to think of as many “what ifs” that could affect the agreement. In my situation, my ex was a high level executive, but he had lost his job. We structured the agreement so that he’d pay a base amount for anything up to 100k, then 30% extra towards child support for anything over that amount. As I was concerned about periodic lags between jobs, as he had a habit of going from one unstable to another, I had it worded that any missed payments due to unemployment would be tacked on to the end of the child support term (rather than him going to court and being allowed to pay $50 or some meager amount).

We have different provisions for visitation if he’s within 50 miles or outside 50 miles.

We have a provision that he will pay for 1/2 college if he’s making average of 150k for 5 years prior to college (I would have changed language on this, and included other options so it wasn’t all or nothing…if he makes 140k year for the next 5 years, he gets off the hook entirely…)

With the house, I probably should have thought through other options. He was to give me the house and it was given a 0 value, as we assumed I’d break even upon selling. With the market the way it was, it took 2 years to sell and I took more of a loss than anticipated. Ex was also unemployed – so, with me keeping the house, I was still responsible for making mortgage payments despite not getting child support or alimony for over a year. In hindsight, I wish there would have been an “out” so that I could have allowed the house to go into foreclosure without hiring a lawyer and going to court. Luckily, my family was in a position to pay for the house until I could sell.

Anything you don’t have clean language on or haven’t outlined a contingency plan for, it will cost a ton of money to go to court and change later.

Really think through all YOUR specifics and what if type situations…nobody can really help you with all that, as only you know what situations will apply to your life.

Best of luck!

Divorce is big business in the United States with an average cost of about $20,000. The more complicated and emotional the divorce, the more expensive it will be. Dealing with a drastic reduction of income since your spouse is no longer helping you financially is a big issue.