Before You Settle Your Divorce (Checklist)
Once the negotiations have begun, most spouses begin to figure out that if they could reach an agreement, they would save themselves a great deal of money and aggravation. They understand, on some level, that they should settle the case instead of fighting it out in court.

The Checklist
  • Make sure you clearly understand everything in your settlement agreement and other related documents before signing. If you do not understand something, be sure to consult a professional.
  • Be sure your settlement agreement is thorough and complete.
  • Here is a list of what should most likely be address in your agreement:
  • What county will the marital agreement be filed?
  • What are the grounds (or reason) for the breakdown of the marital relationship?
  • Where were the Husband and Wife married?
  • Marriage State?
  • Marriage City?
  • Marriage County?
  • What country were the Husband and Wife married in?
  • What country were the Husband and Wife married in?
  • What city were the Husband and Wife married in?
  • Marriage Date?
  • Official Separation Date?
  • Wifeís Marital Property?
  • Husbandís Marital Property?
  • Wifeís Marital Debt Obligation?
  • Husbandís Marital Debt Obligation?
  • Wifeís Separate Property?
  • Husbandís Separate Property?
  • Wifeís Separate Debt?
  • Husbandís Separate Debt?
  • Does each spouse currently possess, or have control over, his and her property and/or debt that he and she will be entitled to or be responsible for pursuant to this agreement?
  • What is the approximate date each spouse took possession of his and her property and debt?
  • Is there a Marital Home?
  • Marital Home Address?
  • What is the Legal Description of the Marital Home?
  • What is going to happen to the marital home?
  • Which spouse will be the transferee?
  • Which spouse will be the transferer?
  • How much will the Transferee pay the Transferer for the marital home?
  • What is the actual (or approximate) date the transfer of the marital home will or has taken place?
  • What is the asking or sale price of the marital home?
  • What is the husbandís percentage or dollar amount he will receive or be responsible for (in case of a loss) from the sale of the marital home?
  • What is the wifeís percentage or dollar amount she will receive or be responsible for (in case of a loss) from the sale of the marital home?
  • What is the actual (or approximate) date of the sale of the marital home?
  • Which spouse will live in the marital home until it is actually sold?
  • Which co-owner will live in the marital home?
  • Is there a current mortgage balance due on the marital home?
  • What percentage or dollar amount of the monthly mortgage will the husband be obligated to pay?
  • What percentage or dollar amount of the monthly mortgage will the wife be obligated to pay?
  • Which spouse will be responsible for sending the mortgage payment(s) to the appropriate financial institution?
  • What percentage of the monthly marital home expenses will the husband be responsible for?
  • What percentage of the monthly marital home expenses will the wife be responsible for?
  • Which spouse will remain the sole owner of the marital home?
  • Which spouse will no longer have any right of ownership to the marital home?
  • Who will be responsible for submitting payment for taxes, insurance and other annual or monthly bills?
  • Do the Husband and/or Wife have a small business?
  • What is the name of the small business?
  • What will happen to the small business?
  • What percentage of the Cash and Accounts Receivables will the Husband be entitled to?
  • What percentage of the Cash and Accounts Receivables will the Wife be entitled to?
  • What percentage of the Real and Personal Property of the business will the Husband be entitled to?
  • What percentage of the Real and Personal Property of the business will the Wife be entitled to?
  • How much will the Husband pay the Wife for her portion of the small business?
  • By what date will the Husband be required to pay to the Wife the full buy-out amount?
  • How much will the Wife pay the Husband for his portion of the business?
  • By what date will the Wife be required to pay to the Husband the full buy-out amount?
  • On what date will the small business become available for sale?
  • Will either spouse be entitled to any of the marital portion of a pension benefit, retirement fund, profit sharing plan, or 401k?
  • Which spouse will give a portion of the pension benefit, retirement fund, profit sharing plan or 401k?
  • Which spouse will receive a portion of the pension benefit, retirement fund,profit sharing plan, or 401k?
  • What is the exact name of the benefit/fund/plan/401k?
  • What is the exact account number of the benefit/fund/plan/401k?
  • What is the present value of the marital portion of the spouseís benefit/fund/plan/401k?
  • What is the percentage or dollar amount of the marital portion of the benefit/fund/plan/401k that the spouse will be receiving?
  • Will either spouse receive any spousal support/maintenance/alimony?
  • Who will pay the spousal support/maintenance/alimony?
  • Who will receive the spousal support/maintenance/alimony?
  • What dollar amount of spousal support/maintenance/alimony will be paid monthly?
  • Is the spousal support/maintenance/alimony going to be payed on a temporary or permanent basis?
  • How long will these spousal support/maintenance/alimony payments last?
  • On what date will the spousal support (alimony) payments begin?
  • Will the amount of spousal support be modifiable in the future by any court?
  • Will either spouse be responsible for maintaining health or medical insurance for the other spouse?
  • Which spouse will be responsible for the health or medical insurance of the other spouse?
  • Which spouse will be receiving health and medical insurance from the other spouse?
  • How long will the spouse be required to maintain health or medical insurance coverage for the other spouse?
  • Is one spouse going to be responsible for paying all or part of any school tuition expenses of the other spouse in addition to, or instead of,spousal support, maintenance or alimony?
  • Which spouse will be actually attending school with the financial support of the other?
  • Which spouse will NOT be attending school, but rather providing all or a percentage of the tuition expenses(s)?
  • What annual percentage or annual dollar amount will the spouse NOT attending school be responsible for paying?
  • On what date will this tuition expense payment obligation terminate?
  • What type of degree, skill, or professional license will the spouse be pursuing by attending school?
  • Is the Wife currently pregnant with a child, of which the Husband is the father?
  • Are there children born or legally adopted of this marriage under the age of 18?
  • How many children under the age of 18 are born, unborn or legally adopted of this marriage? Who will have physical custody of the children?
  • Who will have legal custody of the children?
  • What are the visitation/parenting time rights of the non-custodial parent(or the parent that the child(ren) are not residing with)?
  • Is there or will there be a parenting agreement/plan in effect along with this agreement?
  • Will either spouse receive any child support?
  • Who will pay the child support?
  • Who will receive the child support?
  • What is the monthly child support dollar amount?
  • Will a child support worksheet used for calculating the monthly child support obligation be attached to this agreement?
  • How much life insurance will be taken out by the paying spouse to protect the child(ren)ís future should he or she die before they are 18 years of age?
  • Will the spouse paying child support also be responsible for any secondary educational expenses?
  • What percentage or dollar amount will the spouse paying child support be responsible for secondary educational expenses?
  • Will the spouse paying child support also be responsible for any child care expenses?
  • What percentage or dollar amount will the spouse paying child support be responsible for child care expenses?
  • Which spouse will be responsible for maintaining health, medical and dental insurance coverage for the child(ren)?
  • Who will claim the children as dependents on any tax returns?
  • How will Federal and State taxes be filed this year?
  • Should this agreement be incorporated into the final decree/judgment for divorce or dissolution?
  • Is there a pending legal separation or divorce action (petition or complaint) filed with the county clerks office that this agreement will be associated with?
  • What state is the pending legal separation or divorce action (petition or complaint) filed in?
  • What county is the pending legal separation or divorce action (petition or complaint) filed in?
  • What is the court assigned case/docket number of the filed action (petition or complaint)?
  • Which spouse was responsible for filing the action (petition or complaint) with the court?
  • Which is the non-filing spouse in the action (petition or complaint) filed with the court?
  • On what date was the action (petition or complaint) filed with the court?
  • Will this marital agreement be submitted to the court?
  • Has either spouse accumulated any professional fees (attorney fees, mediation fees, etc.)?
  • Who will be responsible for paying the professional (attorney, mediator, etc.) fees?
  • What percentage of the Wifeís professional fees will the Husband be responsible for paying?
  • What percentage of the Husbandís professional fees will the Wife be responsible for paying?
  • Will the Husband and Wife each be attaching a completed financial affidavit (income and expense form) to this agreement for reference purposes?



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Suggested Reading
How to Divorce as Friends (Audio Book)
How to Divorce as Friends. As Featured On Oprah! You can divorce as friends! No matter how painful or destructive your relationship is today, you have the ability to turn your situation around. You can end the conflict and restore the love, one human being to another. Sound impossible? Well it’s not! It can happen for you.

Author: Bill Ferguson


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