Settle Down: How to Cope With Divorce Settlement Agreements

Posted on: 11 November 2020

A large part of divorce is agreeing on issues so that things can become final. Before that happens, divorce settlement agreement meetings may be needed so that the couple can address contentious issues outside of court. To find out more about these meetings and how to cope with them, read on.

What Is a Settlement Meeting?

Some people get confused about settlement meetings and divorce mediation. Mediation may be voluntary or it might be court-ordered and it is presided over by a neutral third-party mediator. They differ from settlement agreements because they are often a last-ditch effort to resolve issues before the court has to do so. Settlement meetings, on the other hand, often take place to allow the couple to iron out minor issues and discuss how to deal with things like child custody and visitation, marital property, and marital debt divisions.

Anything agreed on in a settlement meeting is put into writing and presented to the judge with other divorce provisions. You can expect that the judge to approve almost any provision appearing before them as long as both parties are in agreement and things seem fair to both parties. In most cases, settlement meetings are casual and attended by the parties and their lawyers. An issue is brought up, the parties either agree on it or not, and things move along to other issues. They can last a few minutes or hours, depending on the complexity of the divorce.

How to Prepare for a Meeting

  1. Think about the main issues of divorce and take a stance. For example, if children are involved, consider what type of custody you want and about visitation arrangements for the other parent.
  2. If you expect challenges to what you want, be ready to show why you, for example, don't feel you are responsible for a certain debt.
  3. Before the meeting, be ready by reviewing financial information about issues that might come up. That might mean gathering and reviewing your most recent tax return, bank statements, investment accounts, and real estate holdings. Along those same lines, know what is and is not marital debt by checking with your divorce lawyer.
  4. In most cases, the contents of a 401(k) is marital property, or at least, the portion added after the date of marriage. You may be entitled to (some) of your spouse's retirement savings but you have to act fast before the divorce is final. Don't leave out the discussion of this important divorce aspect during a settlement meeting.

Solve your divorce issues using the most appropriate people — you and your spouse. To find out more, speak to your divorce attorney.