Many people assume that their divorce will be a long, drawn-out, “knock ‘em out” affair. However, many divorces end amicably with the couple reaching an out of court settlement. The settlement allows them to divorce quickly and then move on with their lives instead of angrily fighting over child custody and other issues.
At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, our team of North Carolina divorce lawyers has helped negotiate many separation agreements. Doing so can save our clients time and money and allow them to co-parent more effectively in the future. Please contact us today.
Identifying Key Sources of Disagreement
A divorce legally severs a couple’s relationship. A couple needs to do the following before they divorce, or the divorce will bar determination of these issue:
- Divide marital property and debts;
- Determine whether one spouse will pay alimony;
Child custody and child support is usually dealt with before divorce but can be dealt with afterwards. If a couple can agree on these issues, then they are in good position to reach an out of court settlement. It is often helpful to sit down with your spouse and discuss these issues, if you can.
Divorce is emotional, and many couples cannot discuss their divorce in a calm and rational manner. Fortunately, the divorce attorneys at Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, can help.
For example, the couple, along with their attorneys, could meet with a mediator, who is trained to help parties to a dispute listen to each other and identify sources of agreement. A skilled mediator is also a problem solver and can suggest ways to resolve disputes. Mediation is not binding, which means you do not have to agree to any proposal.
Collaborative law is also an option. As spelled out in Chapter 50, Article 4 of the North Carolina General Statutes, collaborative law is a process where both spouses agree to use their best efforts to reach an out of court settlement. They will sign an agreement to this effect which states the partners will not go to court until the process is complete and unresolved. In the alternative, this agreement tolls the time limit if an action is pending.
Lawyers are key to collaborative law. They serve as trusted advisors who can help their client see the best path toward a settlement. Just because a couple engages in collaborative law, they are not required to reach a settlement agreement. Sometimes, couples cannot agree despite their best efforts, in which case they can try mediation, or they can go to court and have a contested divorce.
Drafting a Settlement Agreement
The separation agreement is the centerpiece of a successful collaborative divorce. A couple will both review the agreement with their lawyers and then sign it. Once submitted to the court, it is a binding agreement, so do not rush into a settlement lightly.
The best agreements are detailed and will leave no doubt as to each spouse’s obligations. This is particularly crucial with regards to child custody. A good parenting plan should identify which parent will have the children when and how visitation between parents will be arranged.
Our North Carolina Divorce Lawyers Are Here to Help
Our team has experience with collaborative divorce as well as mediation. Please contact us today to discuss reaching an out of court settlement with your spouse and how you can improve the odds of getting the divorce you want.