Negotiating a Marital Settlement Agreement
If you are considering filing for divorce, you should attempt to negotiate a Marital Settlement Agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. This is not always easy since you must agree on how to divide assets, the award and amount of spousal support, child custody arrangements and all other matters related to your divorce.
Below are a few steps you should take before your divorce action is filed to help ensure a more positive outcome:
- Confer with a divorce attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you get your lawyer involved in helping you, the better off you will be. Getting the advice and guidance you need to make smart decisions does not mean that you are required to file for divorce, it simply means you will avoid pitfalls you are not aware of and have a better understanding of what to expect in your case.
- Stay involved with your children’s daily lives. The court will closely examine your relationship with them when making custody decisions.
- Make sure you have a good understanding of your family’s financial situation. You should know how much your spouse earns, your family’s monthly expenses, and other items related to your finances. It is important that you have access to your financial records, including tax returns, mortgage statements, credit card bills, etc.
- Consider what your finances will be post-divorce. Will you have the same earning capacity? Will you stay at the same job? How will your expenses increase?
- Take an inventory of the valuable assets you own jointly with your spouse. If you have valuable personal items such as artwork, jewelry or other similar types of property, take pictures or videos of them.
- Gather all information regarding the stocks you own, life insurance policies, health insurance policies, retirement plans, etc.
- Consider applying for credit in your own name so you can build your own credit. If you fear that your spouse will empty your bank accounts or otherwise try to hide assets, you should immediately discuss it with your divorce attorney.
- If possible, continue living in the marital home (even if you stay in the guest bedroom). Moving out can often weaken your position in the divorce.
The more planning that goes into your divorce the better the outcome will be for you and your children. If you are ready to start preparing for your divorce, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at the Men’s Divorce Law Firm today. Our office is located in Orlando, Florida, but we proudly serve husbands and fathers across the State.