Make Sure Your Separation Agreement Includes These 5 Things

    What is your home worth?  Each car?  How much debt do you have?  Do you have a business that needs to be valued?  Do you have all of your account numbers and know amounts in every bank account, investment and retirement accounts?You must have and exchange all of your financial information before negotiating or drafting your Separation Agreement.  Colorado requires parties to exchange financial disclosures but sometimes you need more!  You may have to file discovery to gather more historical information.  You may have to engage experts to value certain assets. You must have all of the information for values of your assets and debts before negotiating your Separation Agreement.Do not confuse full disclosure with division of the assets. Property that is separate, or inherited or pre-marital may not be divided in the Divorce but you still must share and exchange all of the information.
    You must have detailed language in your Separation Agreement.Too many clients who drafted their own Separation Agreements hire Divorce In Colorado to modify their agreements and court orders because they left out so many details or didn’t include everything they needed to have in writing.Details include deadlines when accounts need to be closed, the property needs to be sold, exact dollar amounts to be exchanged or credited, and who is responsible for doing what to finalize the division of your marital estate.
    You must have consequences and details of what happens if someone does not do what they agreed to do in the Separation Agreement.  Should someone pay more or pay interest if they don’t pay in time?  If the house isn’t refinanced by a date certain, do you have to list it for sale?  If payments are missed what happens?  If titles are not signed over by a certain date what happens?The only recourse legally when someone does not do what the Separation Agreement indicates is to file contempt of court.  The Court can only find someone in contempt if there is a clear order to enforce.  If you don’t have the details or consequences spelled out in the agreement, then the Court may not find the person violated the Agreement.
    The language in your Separation Agreement must be clear.  Name the property you are dividing state agreed-upon amounts for assets and debts when you say who is getting or taking what.  Everything in the financial statements needs to be in your Separation Agreement.If there is separate property or property either spouse owned before the marriage, ensure the separate property interest is addressed in detail in the separation agreement.Your Separation Agreement is a contract!  This means there must be a meeting of the minds.  The more clarity you have in your agreements, the more certain the resolution. The more certain the resolution, the greater the chance of true closure.
    You must have closure.  As hard as Divorce is, the goal has to be to ~Get In ~Get Out ~ and Get Over It!  If your Separation Agreement leaves anything lingering you risk not having closure.  Have dates certain that things are to be sold and exchanged.  Divide or sell the property.  Continue to own the property together if you are going to keep it for the kids or for investment purposes. You must have the proper documents and business venture separate from the marriage.If there is substantial debt don’t share it – pay it off with whatever assets you can sell during the divorce and start clean.  If there are continued support obligations after the divorce, set up auto-pay, so you don’t have to think about it.On the emotional side, get therapy if you need it.  Make social decisions that keep you engaged with people other than those you shared as married.Focus on creating your new life instead of living in the pain of the life you are leaving.Closure is the secret key to a successful divorce.  You must have closure!