A Checklist of Issues for Your Divorce Agreement Discussions

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Blog, Divorce | Comments Off on A Checklist of Issues for Your Divorce Agreement Discussions

A Checklist of Issues for Your Divorce Agreement Discussions

A Checklist of Issues for Your Divorce Agreement Discussions

As with many things in life, proper planning is key when thinking about divorce. This article is directed to those of you who have either started discussing divorce with your spouse or are thinking about having such a discussion.

Many times prospective clients come to us with the following statement "we have reached an agreement." More often than not we find that while the major issues were discussed, there are a host of other issues that were not discussed. The details are important, especially to avoid issues down the road when certain matters are ignored in your divorce agreement.

With that in mind, here is a list of issues that you may want to consider when discussing divorce with your spouse. The issues are being presented in an outline fashion. Explanations for many of these issues can be found in other articles. Some of these issues will not be applicable to your particular case. To be clear, this list does not address every possible issue and situation but represents issues that are commonly seen in divorce agreements.

I.          Custody & Parenting Time

A.        Custody

i.          What is the legal custody designation

ii.         What is the physical custody designation

B.        Parenting Time

i.          What is the parenting time schedule during school

ii.         What is the parenting time schedule during summer

iii.        What is the holiday, special day and school vacation schedule

iv.        Vacations

v.         Transportation between homes

vi.        Communication & access to the children

II.        Support

A.        Alimony

i.          How much and for how long

ii.         How is it to be paid

iii.        When does it commence

iv.        What are the income levels utilized for calculating

B.        Child Support

i.          How much

ii.         How is to be paid

iii.        When does it commence

iv.        What are the income levels utilized for calculating

v.         Are there special expenses to consider

vi.        Planning for college

C.        Medical Insurance & Expenses

i.          Who is maintaining and paying for child’s insurance

ii.         Spouses need to have separate policies upon divorce

iii.        How are unreimbursed medical bills being paid

D.        Life Insurance

i.          Who is required to maintain insurance

ii.         What is the death benefit

iii.        Who is the beneficiary

iv.        Will proof of coverage be provided

E.        Tax Returns

i.          How are you filing income tax returns

ii.         How are refunds and/or deficiencies to be addressed

iii.        Who is claiming the children as dependency exemption

iv.        Who is claiming what deductions

III.       Equitable Distribution

A.        Real Property

i.          If a property is to be sold:

a.         What realtor is going to be utilized

b.         Who is going to reside in the property until sold

c.         What if there are necessary repairs to address

d.         How are expenses to be paid until the property is sold

e.         What is being paid from the sale

f.          How are net sale proceeds to be divided

ii.         If one party is retaining the property:

a.         Is the non-retaining party receiving a buy-out

b.         Is the retaining party refinancing the mortgage(s)

c.         If so, how long do they have to refinance

d.         What happens if they can not refinance

e.         Is there to be a Quit Claim Deed

f.          If so, who is preparing and paying for it

g.         How are the expenses to be paid until refinancing is done

h.         Do the account holders of the utilities need to be changed

B.        Bank, Investment & Stock Accounts

i.          Who is keeping what

ii.         Are there joint accounts that need to closed

iii.        Are there any related tax issues

C.        Retirement Accounts

i.          Who is keeping what

ii.         If there is to be a division:

a.         What is the non-participant receiving

b.         How is the benefit being calculated

c.         How is the necessary paperwork to be completed

d.         Who is paying for the necessary paperwork

e.         Are there provisions for COLAs, survivorship benefits, etc

D.        Motor Vehicles

i.          Who is keeping what

ii.         Does title need to be transferred

iii.        Is there a loan/lease that needs to be addressed

iv.        How is car insurance to be addressed

E.        Personal Property

i.          How is the property to be divided

ii.         How is the property to be collected

F.         Business Interests

i.          Who is keeping what

ii.         Are there any debt and/or indemnification issues

G.        Inherited Property

i.          Is there inherited property that one party is retaining

ii.         Are there any related tax issues

H.        Debt Obligations

i.          Who is responsible for what debt obligation

ii.         Is there going to be indemnification

                                             iii.        Are there joint accounts that need to be closed

There is not any "right" or "wrong" way to draft a divorce agreement. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties, preferably notarized. Beyond that, the structure and content of the agreement itself will differ from case to case. The outline above is merely a checklist to help you with your discussions.


All of the attorneys at Domers & Bonamassa are well versed and have years of experience addressing family law issues, no matter how complicated. Contact us today at (856) 596-2888 for a private consultation. We appear in the following counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Mercer, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May. Our practice areas include: divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, domestic violence, college expenses, equitable distribution, name changes, step parent adoptions, paternity issues, child abuse and neglect, prenuptial agreements, mediation and arbitration.

This posting is provided by Domers & Bonamassa, P.C. for their clients, advisors and other interested persons. Since technical information is presented in a generalized fashion, the communication is not meant to replace the need for competent professional advice and the reader should understand that the information contained in or made available through this communication is not intended to be a substitute for the services of trained professionals. As such, the reader should evaluate and bear all risks associated with the use of any comments, including any reliance on accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such content.