The terms of your divorce can have dramatic financial and emotional implications. However, sometimes, the unwinding of a marriage or de facto relationship can actually be rather simple. If the relationship was brief, the parting was amicable and there are few assets, the parties may feel that they can reach an agreement and settle their affairs without the intervention/cost of a lawyer.
But there can be complications — one spouse may rethink the division of property and come back to negotiate a different deal. One may have been unduly influenced by the other, and agreed to an arrangement that is fundamentally unfair. Both of these situations work against the finality that is necessary for a fresh start, which is why it is necessary to go through the final steps to make it legal.
First of all, write down what you believe you have agreed to. While that document by itself is not enough to create a legally enforceable divorce settlement agreement, it is an excellent start. We’ll review some aspects of what to include in a divorce settlement agreement in this article, so you know where to begin.
Then, all you have to do is take your written recollections of the agreement to the best divorce lawyers Sydney has to offer (here at Owen Hodge Lawyers) and voilà – you have already made the process simpler and less expensive!
What to include in a divorce settlement agreement: 2 important inclusions
When determining what to include in a divorce settlement agreement, there are two major inclusions to consider first.
1. Division of Property Settlement
Parties may apply to the Family Court for a Consent Order to finalise their agreement about the division of property. Consent Orders are Court Orders entered into by mutual agreement and can relate to property and financial settlement, spousal maintenance and parenting matters.
The application for an Order is quite detailed and provides the Court with the information necessary to determine whether the request is just and equitable. If the Court is unsatisfied with the way the proposed Order is drafted, it will be returned to the parties for changes. It is best to seek independent legal advice and have a Family Lawyer draft the Consent Order, as it will prevent your proceedings from being delayed.
2. Child Support & Parenting Arrangements
There are two formal ways to arrange for the care and support of children. They are:
- A parenting plan; or
- A Consent Order.
A parenting plan works best when the parties are relatively friendly and are not likely to breach the child custody agreement. Parenting plans are flexible and can be changed at any time if agreed to by both parents. However, in the event of a breach, there is realistically not much the other party can do to enforce the agreement.
The process of applying for a Consent Order covering parenting arrangements is similar to applying for a financial settlement (explained above). A Court will approve an application for a Consent Order relating to children only if it is convinced that the proposed arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Because the final product is an Order, it may be more easily enforced in the event of a breach. A Consent Order may be set aside only in unusual circumstances, so it is not particularly flexible. Our child support lawyers would be pleased to provide you with more detailed information.
If you have questions about what to include in a divorce settlement agreement or how to create a divorce settlement agreement that’s legal and enforceable, call the Family Law department at Owen Hodge Lawyers on 1800 770 780 to schedule a consultation. Our expert divorce attorneys look forward to working with you.
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Read more about the divorce process, latest marital law updates and more on the Owen Hodge Blog, including our recent post regarding the impact of marriage, separation and divorce on your Will.