Understanding Your Settlement Agreement

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Agreements on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

You want to understand your property division, but it sounds like Shakespeare wrote it: “Witnesseth that whereas the aforementioned, hereinafter referred to as party of the second part, hereby stipulates betwixt . . .” How do you make sense of that?

You could ask your lawyer to explain what this legal mumbo jumbo means again, but you probably don’t want to add to your attorneys’ bill. On the other hand, you also don’t want to violate the agreement, and most importantly, you want this thing to work. What to do.

Below are a few tips to help you to understand your new marital settlement agreement:

– Calendar the exchange days and times into your iPhone as far out as possible.

– Calendar any “notify by” dates for vacations and special events.

– For the kids, draw a color-coded calendar of timesharing exchanges so they will know where they’ll be. It helps instill confidence.

– List on a piece of paper what needs to be divided and when.

– Notify your H.R. department about your divorce.

– Notify cable T.V., cellular telephone and other accounts managers to change accounts.

– Calendar when support payments are due.

– List the amount of child support and alimony to be paid.

– List your children’s extra-curricular expenses and uncovered expenses and remember what percentage each parent is responsible for.

Marital settlement agreements, even when written clearly, are legal contracts. They can be long and complex. Even lawyers have to continually educate themselves to stay on top of this ever changing area of law.

Once the agreement is signed, you should be finished, but not always. These tips should help, but if you find yourself back in court, you will at least have a handle on the agreement.

It is not uncommon for me to be brought into a case to review someone’s proposed marital settlement agreement before they sign it. So, if all else fails, call a lawyer for help.