Your divorce agreement is the legal document that will detail what happens in your divorce. This legally-binding settlement is what will set the tone for your post-divorce life, so before you sign, make sure that you have an experienced attorney review it. In the meantime, you can learn more about what this important document should cover.
Division of Assets
In a New Mexico divorce, everything owned by the spouses is put into two broad categories: separate property and community property. Community property is, with some exceptions, everything obtained during the marriage. Once you have determined what is separate and what is community, you and your spouse must work together to decide who gets what in the divorce. This can be done directly between you and your spouse, if you can be civil to each other, or through your attorneys. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement about the division of assets, a judge will decide the issue for you. You always want to be in control of your future. Therefore, it is always important to strive to come to an agreement, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be, rather than let the Court decide. The Court is likely to disregard all but legal arguments for the division of property and can leave you stuck with a property division you do not like.
One particularly sensitive issue in asset division is often the marital home. You have more than one option here. At the end of the divorce (or possibly during the divorce), the house can be sold and the proceeds split or one spouse can “buy out” the other spouse in order to keep the home. The possibilities and risks are very numerous, so consult with your attorney before taking this route.
Splitting of Debts
Along with dividing assets, there must be a division of debt. This includes car and mortgage payments, loans and credit card debt. As with asset division, dividing debts can be emotional, especially if some of the debts are in one person’s name only. Work with an attorney experienced in family law in Albuquerque to help ensure the debts are split in a fair manner.
Life Insurance Issues
Life insurance isn’t something people often think about, but it can be a part of your settlement. If your spouse has coverage, for example, you may want to remain on it for a period of time as the divorce is being settled. If you have children, you may want to include a provision in the agreement that requires your spouse to have coverage with the children as the beneficiaries. This is to ensure the children will be provided for should something happen to one parent. These provisions should be included in your final documents.
Parenting Time and Obligations
The parenting time plan is, quite possibly, one of the most difficult parts of any divorce agreement. Here, you and your spouse will decide with whom the children’s time will be spent and how. This includes day-to-day scheduling and things such as holidays and birthdays. Children’s needs differ by age and by circumstances, however, generally speaking – it is best for children to spend the same amount of time with both parents, so you may need to compromise with your spouse to ensure this happens.
In addition to parenting time, your agreement will also include provisions for child support for the children. There are guidelines in New Mexico that calculate the amount of child support owed, but if there are special circumstances involved — you may need, or be able to, to deviate from those guidelines. Your attorney will assist you in this area.
In addition, the agreement should address who is paying for your child’s other needs, such as their education and health insurance expenses. If you do not cover those items in your agreement now, you may find yourself back in court later when there is a dispute over those costs.