In the last do it yourself divorce article, I discussed how reaching an agreement is only a step in the process. A parenting plan and maritime settlement agreement must be prepared and filed with the Court. This is another area where do it yourself divorce participants can run into trouble. Since most do it yourself divorce participants do not have experience in drafting divorce agreements, its not uncommon to miss important details and end up with an incomplete agreement.
One of the most common omissions is a detailed parenting plan. Many people believe they will simply work matters out as they arise and do not create detailed schedules for timesharing, holidays or vacation time. Do it yourself divorce participants may also forget to discuss extracurricular activities or college expenses. If a dispute arises later, some of these items may be waived because they are not included in a settlement agreement. It is important to take the time to address each and every issue before a problem arises. A divorce attorney or family law mediator may be of assistance in helping a do it yourself divorcing couple identify and reach agreement on all children-related issues.
A do it yourself divorce agreement may also lack time parameters or specifics for the sale or transfer of property. For example, if one person is going to keep a house or other property and needs to refinance to remove the other person's name, the do it yourself divorce agreement may fail to state when the refinance will take place. Or, if a property is to be sold, the do it yourself agreement agreement may have no language about selecting a realtor, agreeing on a sales price or what to do about repairs and expenses before the home or property is sold.
The above are only a few examples of details that may be overlooked in a do it yourself divorce agreement. It is important to be as specific as possible in order to avoid problems and disputes down the road. Anyone who has specific questions about a do it yourself divorce agreement should consult a divorce attorney.
In the next article, we will discuss the last stage of the dispute process- the final hearing- as well as the matters that come up after a divorce becomes final.