What to Ask for in a Divorce Settlement
Posted on December 7th, 2022
Divorce is an unfortunate reality in the United States, with 630,000 marriages ending in 2020 alone. It’s an incredibly stressful time for both parties as they decide how to split assets, divide parenting time, and protect their children from the aftermath of the conflict.
Although you might want to speed through the negotiations, it’s crucial to slow down and ensure you’re getting everything you need to thrive in the long run. A fair divorce settlement agreement can help you make a clean break and leave the marriage amicably.
If you’re wondering what to ask for in a divorce settlement, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. You must evaluate your needs and pursue an agreement that fulfills them.
5 Things to Ask for in a Divorce Settlement Agreement
Like many divorcing couples, you’ve probably caught yourself Googling ‘what to ask for in a divorce settlement’ now and then. That’s why we have listed five things you should consider including in your divorce settlement agreement.
1. A Fair Share of Assets
The longer you and your partner were married, the more marital assets you likely accumulated during the marriage. Of these, there could be some you’re determined to keep and others you care less about. You may also need to hold on to certain items based on your income, health, and your children’s future.
Rather than splitting your possessions down the middle, consider assessing your circumstances and keeping what you’ll require in the long run. Also, insist on a valuation by a neutral party to ensure you get a fair hand in the division.
In case you’re not sure where to start, talk to a competent divorce settlement agreement lawyer before signing anything. They will be able to analyze your circumstances and put you on the right path.
2. Child Support and Alimony
Although federal law requires each state to have a set of child support guidelines, it’s first up to the parents to decide on a suitable amount. However, note that this financial issue revolves around your children and what’s beneficial to them.
When mapping out child support in a divorce settlement agreement, you and your partner must account for what your children’s lives looked like before the divorce, and what you must do to maintain it as much as possible henceforth. Talk to a divorce settlement agreement attorney to sort out the specifics.
Also, for states where alimony isn’t assumed, you will need to negotiate for it. Determining a fair alimony amount and duration can be tough, so don’t hesitate to seek help from your divorce settlement lawyer.
3. Retirement and Investment Accounts
Your divorce will probably alter your plans for retirement significantly. Still, since you can’t work forever, it makes perfect sense to fight for a fair share of the retirement and investment accounts built during your marriage.
A word of caution here. The amounts you withdraw from an IRA or retirement plan before age 59 are called ‘premature’ withdrawals. These are subjected to an additional 10% tax (unless there’s an exception), so be sure to consult your divorce settlement agreement lawyer about rolling over funds to a personal retirement account.
4. Property and Debt
Usually, judges will assign each spouse a percentage of their total marital property, excluding the debts. The judge will then distribute the assets and administer debt so that each estate equals the allocated percentage.
You certainly don’t want to get stuck with the lion’s share of your marital debt. Hence, it’s crucial to have a clear picture of what you owe before you draw up a divorce settlement agreement.
Remember, a fair division of debt must be based on the following:
- Who incurred the debt?
- Who benefitted from it?
- Who has the asset tied to the debts?
- Who can repay it?
Don’t take on more of the marital debt just so you can be done with the divorce quickly. Your divorce settlement agreement attorney should be able to guide you through this process so you in the best position leaving the marriage.
5. Marital Home
Your marital home also plays a crucial role in a divorce, and there are several ways to distribute this income.
- One spouse keeps the house and buys the other’s share from them.
- One spouse keeps the house and takes less of a marital asset in return.
- Both spouses sell the house and divide the proceeds.
But think about what you want from your marital home before you decide what to do with it. Is it vital enough for you to give up other assets to your ex-spouse? Or do you want to sell your share and put it on the market? Your answer will directly impact your divorce settlement agreement.
Consult an Experienced Divorce Settlement Agreement Lawyer Today
Divorce can be a tough time for you and your family. However, a proper divorce settlement can help you move on with your life and secure your future. Hopefully, this post has given you insight into the five things you must ask for during a divorce settlement agreement.
At Kalinoski Law Offices, our divorce settlement lawyer will go the distance to defend your rights and ensure you receive what you deserve. For more information, contact us today.
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Craig P. Kalinoski is a respected attorney serving clients in Scranton, Pennsylvania. With a focus on Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Civil Rights, he has established himself as a top-rated legal professional. Recognized as a Rising Star and admired by peers, Craig's commitment to excellence sets him apart in the legal field.