Tuesday, October 7, 2014

3 Things You Should Consider Including in Your Property Settlement Agreement

Hopefully during your divorce proceedings you and your soon to be ex-spouse will be able to come to an agreement on all aspects of the divorce: property distribution, child custody, support, etc.  If you are, then you (or hopefully, your attorney) will be drafting your property settlement agreement (also called a separation agreement).  Here are three things you should consider including in your agreement. 

1. Neither parent is to have overnight guests of the opposite sex while the child is in their care.
While this may sound unreasonable, it protects your children in a lot of ways.  The court may order this but if you are in the process of settling your divorce case this is something you and your soon to be ex-spouse should consider adding to your agreement. 

2. Neither parent is to consume alcohol or illegal drugs while the child is in their care. 
This may sound obvious but it is important to put in your agreement if you think there may be an issue with this.  You can add a similar provision that has whatever language you want - if you agree that it is okay to have a beer or glass of wine while the child is in your care, maybe you limit the language to illegal drugs.  Either way, this is a good idea to consider putting in your agreement.

3. Neither parent is to disparage the other in front of the children.
We all know everyone needs to vent every now and then and there is no problem with that.  There may be a problem, however, if it is done in front of the children.  Saying negative comments about the other parent when the children can hear can cause long term consequences and is generally not a good idea.  

These are important for a couple of reasons.  First, it opens the lines of communication to ensure you and your soon to be ex-spouse are actually on the same page and agree with how things will work from here on out.  Second, if one of those issues becomes a problem in the future, you now have a way to enforce those concepts through your agreement, rather than being forced to go to the court to modify the terms of the custody or visitation of your child, if applicable.  Even if you think these concepts are a given and you and your soon to be ex-spouse are definitely on the same page, if it is not in your agreement, it may not be enforceable in the future. 

If you are thinking about a divorce or going through a divorce and would like a consultation, please contact us at (804) 447-0146 or clbaudean@baudeanlaw.com.