Most separating couples have never seen one
The Family Law Professional’s role is to help separating couples reach consensus during their negotiations, if possible. The following are some questions people need to consider and some of the most common Family Law sections in a Separation / Divorce Agreement.
- Should the legal process be Family Law Advice or Family Mediation, or both? Traditional Family Law, Collaborative Family Law and Family Mediation each serve important roles for separated couples who frequently require creative Separation / Divorce Agreements just to manage their daily and weekly future lives. Before making a final decision as to what path you’ll take, think about how you and your ex communicate, if you both feel safe being together in the same room, if your situation is simple or complicated, how you will pay for your legal costs, if you expect the two of you to easily reach an agreement, or if you expect a Family Court Judge to preside over your case. Once you know the answers, you can make a wise decision. It’s important to understand the first joint choice both of you will make will possibly determine your future legal related costs. Family Mediation requires two participants jointly working through issues. Collaborative Family Lawyers each have a client and will try to resolve the issues in a friendlier legal manner. The role of a Family Litigation Lawyer is to push for the best outcome for their client, but this can be costly and stressful. If you and your ex expect considerably different outcomes, the Family Litigation route may be your only option, as it is for many couples.
- Consider the “Who, What, Where, When and Why’s” of parenting children from two separate homes and how both of you will parent?
- Parenting Plans – This is the legal part of parenting which specifies all the agreed to information regarding where your children will reside, who will make important decisions regarding healthcare, education, children’s special activities and religious upbringing, etc., how information will be shared, who will take the children to medical and dental appointments or other appointments, who takes the children to school, vacation times, religious holiday schedules, public holidays, etc., and all other important parenting decisions so your children can move forward with their lives.
- Financial Budgeting – Most geographic regions require parents to complete a variety of legal forms, including budgets. It’s important that each parent organizes their budgets and personal future expenses to ensure the agreement reached is viable.
- Financial Agreements – The key financial issues to be resolved include child support, children’s current and future special expenses, who pays for daycare if required, spousal support / alimony, the matrimonial home (if owned), division of personal and financial property and then equalizing the net assets or liabilities, division of pensions, etc.
- Life insurance could be required to secure support payments and sophisticated calculations are required (for married or common-law separating couples), etc. It can be confusing, but it’s also very important.
- There are numerous other legal matters to consider, including Definitions, Dispute Resolution, Medical and Dental Benefits, Personal Releases, and other General Terms, etc.
Separation / Divorce Agreements are complicated. Here are very simple rules to remember. Get the best legal advice you can afford. Focus on your needs before your wants. Agreements can only be easily reached when both parties want to settle their differences and are prepared to sign an agreement. Your legal marriage or relationship has ended. Complete your legal agreement and your future responsibilities with honor and integrity.
When Parents Do Well, Children Do Well