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The Importance of Having a Detailed Settlement Agreement

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | May 31, 2015 | 0 Comments

Many recent articles concerning separation and divorce have discussed the expensive mistakes couples often make that can cause their cases to become even more costly. One of the best examples is the failure to write things down in the right way. Experts note that one party simply verbally telling the other that they will do something is notlegally binding and can be disclaimed at a later date. When it comes to Family Court, if your agreement is not written down, signed by both parties, and handled in the proper manner, it is probably worthless.

Further, it is important to discuss where these promises are most important: settlement agreements. A settlement agreement is the document in a divorce, separation, child custody, visitation, or other Family Court action that explains in clear and precise detail how your case will be resolved. It addresses all of the issues in your case, which may include things such as child custody, visitation, child support, insurance, alimony, division of assets and debts, attorney's fees, etc. Put anther way, if it's important, it needs to be in the settlement agreement and approved by the Court.

The experts are correct that spoken promises can prove useless in the event of a future dispute. Unfortunately, as referenced above, even those included in settlement agreements can come into question if they vague or ambiguous. This is why it is so important to craft a detailed settlement agreement; one that clearly and unequivocally lays out everyone's obligations and responsibilities. It is essential that you rely on a skilled, experienced family law attorney to craft such an important document that will serve as the guide for your behavior years into the future.

Make sure your lawyer is methodical when explaining all of the important issues in your case (property/debt division, child support, child custody, visitation schedules, holidays, insurance, and on and on). The more detail that is included on the front end, the fewer things there will be to argue about later. Spending time now to get things done correctly can save you months of arguing and additional expensive fighting over the interpretation of various provisions down the road.

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J. Benjamin Stevens

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