Make sure you fully understand the terms of a property settlement before you sign it.
Property settlements cannot be changed, except in cases of fraud, clerical error, mistake, or gross unfairness at the initial trial, after the judgment is signed by the judge or after the couple signs a settlement agreement.
Terms of the agreement
Property is usually divided 50/50 between the spouses. However, the fault of one spouse may bring about a different division.
If the parties cannot agree, a settlement is reached after negotiations with court-appointed personnel. The judge can appoint a mediator, Friend of the Court, or an assistant to help with the negotiations. If the appointed personnel aren’t successful in reaching a settlement, the judge will make the decision.
If your property includes retirement or pension plans, ask your attorney or financial advisor to explain your rights in dividing them.
Different rules apply to property owned before the marriage, property inherited by one spouse, or property received as a gift by one spouse. Discuss such situations with your attorney.
The court considers many factors in spousal support.
Spousal support (formerly called alimony) refers to court-ordered payments from one spouse to another. In deciding whether to award spousal support and in what amount, the court may consider:
The judgment of divorce marks the end of the marriage and is a final statement of the agreement. But life is not static—circumstances change and adjustments to the judgment may be needed.
Changing an order is difficult but not impossible. Your atto…
We are not tax attorneys and do not give definitive tax advice, but we can refer you to qualified tax professionals.
Divorcing couples should consider these effects on their taxes:
Filing status and exemptions
Deductible spousal support has long been a way to divide family income and save taxes during and following a divorce. The higher wage earner shifts the tax s/he pays on spousal support to the lower wage earner or non-working…
In recent weeks, I have been pleasantly surprised to have my clients settle a number of very difficult cases in mediation, that had appeared insolvable. What these cases had in common was very difficult issues pertaining to their children. These…
Like many things in life, a do-it-yourself approach often costs you more money—and considerably more time—than hiring an experienced professional in the first place. Divorcing couples may think they’ve resolved 90% of their issues, only to find out that the “holes” in their informal agreement put one of them at a distinct disadvantage. More