When two parties decide that they want to agree on everything, they need to sign some kind of document that lays out the terms of the divorce and what happens after it is completed. Typically, a family law lawyer will help you to draft one up or review it if your spouse already has a divorce settlement agreement drawn up, so all the terms are met and the law is satisfied. The divorce settlement agreement clearly lays out everything that has to do with the divorce, including child custody and visitation, alimony and child support, and division of all property and debts jointly held by the two people getting a divorce.
A Lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga Can Create a Divorce Settlement Agreement for You.
We always recommend that a lawyer be involved whenever you do anything that has long-term or short-term legal ramifications.
A family law attorney can draw up the paperwork, making sure your best interests are taken care of and that the letter of the law is followed.
This document will become the governing document for your interactions with your former spouse after the divorce has been finalized, including important things like when each of you sees the kids and who owes what in terms of child support or alimony.
It is never wise to draw up this document yourself.
When Can We Reach a Divorce Settlement Agreement?
There is really no time frame for reaching a divorce settlement agreement and a lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga can help you decide when to file and finalize.
Some people come in to the family law attorney’s offices having already decided how they want to settle everything on the first day, and this makes drawing up the document really easy.
Other couples will go through the entire process of mediation and contested divorce proceedings, and they will get all the way to the doors of the courthouse before agreeing to certain things.
In most cases, there is less heartache and cost associated with signing a divorce settlement agreement before going through a trial.
It is, however, important to allow your family law lawyer to look at any document before you sign it to ensure that you are not getting a bad deal.
Is a Divorce Settlement Agreement Binding?
A divorce settlement agreement is, for all intents and purposes under the law, a legally binding contract. This means that everything you agree to, with the help of your family law attorney, you will be required to follow.
Deviations and changes to the contract may only happen with the approval of the other party – your former spouse – or if you are willing to go to court and have something changed. You should know that unless there are extreme mitigating circumstances, a judge will typically stand by the agreement you signed.
It cannot be stressed enough that you should never sign this kind of an agreement or draft one up without your family law lawyer involved. What you say and what you agree to are things you will have to live with for a very long time, so it is critical to have the expert legal advice you need beforehand.
Wouldn’t It Be Cheaper to Hire Just One Lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga for Our Divorce Settlement Agreement?
This is where people often fall victim to naiveté. As a matter of law, one attorney cannot represent both sides in a contract negotiation. This would be intrinsically unfair to one party.
The same holds true for family law, and since the divorce settlement agreement is a legally binding contract, it is not advisable to hire a single attorney to draft the proposed settlement agreement.
This is because the attorney will be working for one of the parties, and so the other party stands at a distinct disadvantage.
If it is your spouse’s attorney, their job is to give them the best deal, and you could be signing something completely unfair to you.
If it is your family law lawyer, you risk your spouse coming back one day and contesting the entire agreement based on unfair treatment or not having adequate legal representation.
The easiest way to avoid all this is to hire two separate lawyers.
Can a Lawyer in Rancho Cucamonga Change the Original Divorce Settlement Agreement?
As mentioned earlier, you can indeed, although there is a process involved. Couples who find a way to get along after the dissolution typically can work on whatever schedule they want, as long as they agree. It is when they stop agreeing that a family law attorney needs to be involved.
If you want substantial changes made to the original divorce settlement agreement, it is best to draw up documents to that effect and have both of you sign them.
If you do not agree on some of the changes or provisions, then you could find yourself in front of a judge, who will make a ruling on the changes.
A word to the wise: before signing a divorce settlement agreement, it is rare for a judge to change the original agreement unless one party can demonstrate a severe change in circumstances, typically of the financial nature.
Contact a Rancho Cucamonga Divorce Settlement Agreement Lawyer