What is a property settlement agreement?
Divorces are contested when the parties cannot agree on custody, parenting time, alimony, child support or property division. These issues must be resolved before you get divorced. This happens in one of two ways. The judge decides the outstanding issues and that decision becomes part of your divorce decree. You resolve your outstanding issues and you and your spouse sign a contract that memorializes your agreement. Your contract is referred to as a property settlement agreement and it becomes part of your divorce decree.
Why consider settling?
A signed property settlement agreement has the same effect as a judge’s decision. Both are legally binding and enforceable in court. There is one crucial difference between them. Unlike a settlement agreement, you have no control over the judge’s decision. This is why our firm will explore every realistic possibility of resolving your matter while we prepare to aggressively litigate your case if settlement is not possible.
The majority of cases settle. The reason for this is simple. You want to have a say in what you are obligated to do. Once a judge takes over the decision-making process, you will be bound by that decision whether or not it is favorable to you. Decisions viewed as unfair inevitably lead to more litigation.
More often than not, a judge will not address events that will occur in the future. For example, if you have young children, the judge will not address responsibility for payment of college. A property settlement agreement can provide for the payment of college costs in the future and define what those expenses will be.
When alimony is appropriate, a judge can only award periodic payments. A property settlement agreement can provide for a lump sum alimony payment instead of periodic payments because a lump sum alimony payment works better for both parties.
Unlike a judge’s determination, a property settlement agreement can be crafted to the particular needs of the parties by using creative, out of the norm solutions. Mrs. Agostini will use her 40 years of experience to negotiate the best possible settlement for you.
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