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Is it wise to craft a divorce agreement rather than go to court?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | Divorce

Indiana residents who are getting divorced understand that it is an emotional, personal and financial upheaval. Although there is a natural perception that divorce will be contentious, that is not always the case. In many situations, the sides are capable of good faith negotiation to try and reach an amicable agreement to avoid a costly and time-consuming court battle. Still, it is imperative to remember what can be negotiated and the possible negatives.

Know how to craft a divorce agreement

The parties can discuss and decide how to settle any family law-related issue. For example, if one requires spousal maintenance, they can determine what would be a fair amount. The same is true when assessing property and how to divide it; how custody and parenting time will be handled; and if a custodial parent wants to relocate with the child.

Even if the sides are willing and able to negotiate, it might not always be in their best interests to do so. Perhaps there is significant property and one person is unaware of the market value. There could be a family business with complex finances, assets and debt. An agreement may seem like an easier path, but it could put one or both sides in a disadvantageous position they might not otherwise agree to if they had competent guidance.

When there is an out of court settlement, the court still has the right to scrutinize the agreement to ensure it is fair. In some cases, there might be a belief that coercion or threats resulted in a person approving an agreement that is unfair to them. They might not fully understand what they are doing and it could be modified to ensure it is reasonable.

Simply because a couple is trying to settle their divorce case amicably and avoid going to court, it does not preclude the wisdom of having advice. There are legal considerations that need to be addressed in any family law case whether the parties are on good terms or not. With child support, maintenance, property and every other area, it is particularly important to be protected and know how to reach an equitable result.