Negotiating Settlement

In order for any divorce to be recognized as legitimate, action by the court is required. With that being said, a divorce does not need to go to trial. Actually, most divorces conclude with a settlement agreement between the parties that is approved by the court. Settlement can happen at any time before the divorce ruling, yet it turns out to be more probable after the discovery stage. After discovery, each party gets a clear understanding of all salaries, debts, and assets. This permits the lawyers to each work with both parties to achieve acceptable terms for both sides. Settlements can resolve one or each of the three noteworthy segments of a divorce—property division, support obligations, and child custody.

After both clients begin to see the “big picture” concerning each spouse’s income, debts, and assets. This allows the attorneys to each work with their clients and opposition to reach agreeable terms. Settlements can resolve one or all three major components of divorce—property division, support obligations, and child custody.

Property Division

Property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and must be divided as part of the divorce action. This might include the spouses’ home, vehicles, and retirement accounts. Much like marital property, debts accrued during the marriage must also be divided fairly amongst the spouses. The most common form of marital debt is a mortgage on the spouses’ home. The court will decide how to divide the assets and debts in a way that results in a fair division.

When it comes to their property, spouses are the experts. The spouses know their property better than anyone else, making this a prime area for agreement and settlement. This is particularly true when the spouses have deep personal attachments to various property or specific plans for other items. The court will hear all relevant considerations regarding such property, but at the end of the day, the court alone is going to make the decision regarding which spouse received which property. This motivates most couples to work out agreements that each are happy with, rather than risking the court issue a division that may not serve either party’s liking.This part of the divorce proceeding is a key area for settlement. 

Martial property and debts must be divided as part of the divorce proceedings. Martial property is the property that is acquired during the marriage, rather than before it or after separation. Common martial property includes the martial home, vehicles, and retirement accounts. Debts acquired during the marriage are also considered to belong to the couple together. The most common example of this is a mortgage on the martial home. These assets and obligations must be divided in a way that is fair—what the court refers to as an equitable distribution.

Support Obligations

Spousal support and child support are both pertinent when proceeding with a divorce. Spousal support may be referred to as maintenance or alimony. The purpose of spousal support is for a spouse to maintain a lifestyle that they lived throughout the marriage. Although spousal support is not appropriate in every situation, circumstances that involve spouses that have been married for a long period may raise the importance of spousal support. This is especially true when one spouse has decided not to work and instead focuses on raising children. In this case, the court does not want to punish the spouse who may be supporting the marriage in ways other than financial support, so support will probably be awarded. Awarding spousal support often allows a spouse to progress towards financial stability after the divorce. It can also help with attending school or training that will aid in re-entering the workforce.

Child support is quite different from spousal support. First, child support will almost always be required when the marriage has produced children that are still minors. Kansas has a formulaic method of calculating a presumed child support amount, adopted to make support obligations more consistent and less controversial. This formula uses the income of the parents, the custody arrangement, and other factors to arrive at a presumed amount. Thus, the amount of child support is much easier to calculate. This leads to it being an easier source of the agreement, so long as custody is agreed upon.

Child Custody

The final facet of a divorce proceeding is usually the most difficult to reach an agreement upon. Each parent will likely have strong, unchanging preferences on child custody. The residence of the children will affect where they go to school, the holiday travel plans of the parents, and countless other aspects of each spouse’s family life. Even in joint custody arrangements, dividing holidays, summers, and weekends can prove difficult and emotionally charged. As a final barrier against an agreement, certain custody schedules can directly alter the amount of child support a parent owes or receives. These factors come together to make child custody the most hotly contested portion of most divorce negotiations.

Child custody is investigated with extraordinary examination by the court. Regardless of whether parties completely consent to a custody plan, the court must consider what is in the best interest of the children and the court has the ability to decline an agreement. The court will likewise utilize this metric if custody cannot be settled upon preceding the trial. This makes custody understandings progressively vital, because the parents and the court must all agree. Considering that custody can directly affect the amount of child support awarded, it is key to come to an agreement on custody.