background

Settlement Agreements

Tampa Divorce Settlement Agreements

Settling Your Divorce Out of Court

When most people hear the word "divorce," they conjure up images of heated and emotional legal battles in the courtroom, and of a process that can often drag out over an interminably long period of time. They think of a legal dispute which is likely to cause considerable emotional trauma to their children, and which will probably leave them embittered toward their spouse. They cringe at the thought of a process which has the potential to be incredibly emotionally and financially draining. The good news, however, is that your divorce does not have to be this way. Provided that you and your spouse are willing and able to work constructively and respectfully with one another to resolve the issues in the dissolution of your marriage, you can most likely work out a settlement agreement for an uncontested divorce.

About Divorce Settlement Agreements

Factually, most divorces are carried out through out-of-court settlement agreements, as evidenced by the American Bar Association's statement that 95 percent of all divorces are uncontested. In this approach, you and your spouse will work together to negotiate arrangements for your relationship following the divorce, with terms to delineate each party's legal rights and responsibilities. A settlement agreement addresses such issues as the division of property including both assets and debts, the payment of alimony and any other factors which may be relevant. Child custody, visitation rights and child support payments are not included in the settlement agreement, since such matters are included in the parenting plan. The parenting plan, however, may be attached to the settlement agreement, and its terms may influence the outcome of negotiations for the settlement, such as by awarding the marital home to the parent who has received primary child custody.

How to Pursue an Out-of-Court Divorce Settlement

The divorce settlement agreement is pursued in nearly every divorce in Tampa, since the family law courts will usually order the parties to a contested divorce to attend mediation in an attempt to negotiate a settlement. You and your spouse may each be represented by a Tampa divorce lawyer, or you may choose to meet with a neutral third-party mediator to assist you in working out an agreement. As soon as you and your spouse have come to agreements and have drafted the settlement, you can then bring the document to court for review by the family law judge and approval with a Final Judgment of Divorce.

Advantages of Uncontested Divorce Settlements

Pursuing an uncontested divorce through the negotiation of a divorce settlement agreement is highly advisable, since it is typically far less stressful, much faster and less costly than contested divorce litigation. Further, it allows you to keep your affairs private by avoiding the disclosure of personal information in court. Perhaps the strongest reason for negotiating a settlement agreement is that it keeps you and your spouse in charge of the process, rather than submitting to the arbitrary rulings of a judge. The terms of the agreement will be legally enforceable, and both you and your spouse will be required to abide by them in the months and years following the divorce, so it is in your best interests to do everything you can to reach a settlement which will work for you. To discuss your concerns and to find out what you can expect in your settlement, contact the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo for a free initial consultation with a Tampa divorce lawyer.

Start the Conversation

With a Free Consultation

Send My Information