The West Suburban Divorce Support Group Message Board › Divorce Decrees \ Settlement Agreements

Divorce Decrees \ Settlement Agreements

A former member
Post #: 8
My wife and I are amicably, so far, writing our own divorce settlement agreement. We each have our own attorneys to seek consultation as needed but want to do most of it on our own to reduce costs. I am looking for a list, settlement agreement verbiage or actual settlement agreements to make sure we are covering all bases BEFORE we meet with attorneys for a 4-way. We have covered the basics such as child support, visitation, child custody, and agreements on who pays for what and how much on many issues. When we are done, we will hand over the Agreement to our attorneys to put it into legal speak. I just want to include everything possible to minimize the need to go back to court. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated. Please email me if you do not want to comment here in the discussion area.
A former member
Post #: 124
What a blessing you are both able to do this peacefully, and a huge cost savings.

Sounds like you got all the major bases covered.

Have you discussed birthdays and holidays?
Extra (non-planned) expenses such as field trips, sports, camps?
Medical and dental needs?
Moving (distance from each other that is acceptable)?

That's all I can think of for the moment.

Good luck.
A former member
Post #: 9
Thanks Beth,
I agree this has been a blessing to be able to do this peacefully, so far, and a significant cost savings. I believe the amicable part comes from our faith and that the best interest of our four minor daughters be met. Emotionally hard but it is what it is. We have birthdays and holidays covered as well as sports and camps but I did not think about field trips; I will need to add that one. Medical and dental are addressed but with all settlement categories, it is in the details and one can never have enough details. I have been advised to be as thorough as possible and one could always add more details. We have a clause regarding moving the children's primary residential location out of Kane county and needing a mutually signed agreement filed with the court or a court order of our jurisdiction before such a primary residential move could happen. I did not consider distance so I will need to put some thought into that one. Thanks again for your suggestions and feel free to add more if you think of any.
A former member
Post #: 11
You should have something in there about notifying the parent when the kids are taken out of state by the other parent. (In my case, a text, e-mail, or phone call will do. Info exchanged should be the time of stay, destination, time expected back.) Also, there should be something about the non-custodial parent's right to have the kids when the custodial parent is away for X amount of time. (The X would be decided by both of you....6 hours, 12 hours, 1 day, etc.) In my case, my ex was working overnites and leaving the kids with her boyfriend. That's not right. I'm their father, I should have them. So I had that point written in the agreement, that in the event of my ex's absence of X hours, I get the kids. I wanted 6 hours, but the attorneys negotiated it to 12 hours.
A former member
Post #: 12
I should add that, realistically, some of the things in the agreement will have no teeth. My ex's boyfriend has a house in Indiana, so in the summer my ex is always taking the kids out of state. Although, legally, she is supposed to notify me, she doesn't. I learn about it later from the kids. I talked with my atty and the response is that I can't call the police, all I can do is take her back to court, which means the time and expense of it all. My attorney said that the judge could decide to look at the child custody agreement again, but really nothing would come of it. The judge would just say to my ex, "Are you going to notify him from now on?" And she'd say, "Yes, your honor." So, after fighting the battle (divorce process) for three years, I've learned that most of it is a game and some of it is a joke. The attorneys get paid well, but in all honesty the courts don't have time for things that are important to each of us on a case by case basis.
A former member
Post #: 10
Thank you for your suggestions. I am going to incorporate them into my settlement agreement.
A former member
Post #: 127

You make some excellent points. This discussion is excellent because it helps eliminate these issues before they become issues which will cost time and money to (hopefully) resolve.

I love your comments about taking kids out of the state. I would add to that the need to have contact information - address, phone numbers, hotel information, etc. - in the event there is an emergency (say she got sick and went to the hospital) you can easily find the children and take care of them.

I worry about the future ex taking the kids out of state. He does things and does not tell me about it, I learn from the children, as in your situation. And he is not fully capable of monitoring all three solo (proven sadly). Last summer the two older ones went out of state but I did not go and he was made aware of whom they were with as well as all the details. A trusted friend/relative.

Elwin, something else to consider and I am having this added to mine, is that the children, at the age of 10, have the right to refuse visitation. Meaning that if they don't want to go for a visit they can tell their dad they don't want to go and it is not something we can go back to court over or that I can be held in contempt. He already agrees when they change their mind or shorten the visit, usually, but I just want them covered so they legally have a voice. This is not about residency. You may also want to add something about residency in the event any of them want to live with you for a period of time. Make that stated now so that if it happens it is easier.

Also, sad but we had to write in that if they want to call me he must allow that to happen. Twice two of my kids wanted to talk to me, and come home early, and he told them no and wouldn't even allow a phone call. One of my children who asked is only 4. I was quite upset. I won't immediately just let them come home with a phone call, but I'll discuss the situation with them and if deemed necessary, or that the issue is unresolvable, than I'll pick them up, but usually a happy talk will resolve the matter.

And activies/events... you should have full disclosure of all things and dates of activies/events so you can decide to attend or, if on your visit, you can make certain your child/ren are able to get there in a timely manner. A monthly calendar provided a week before the beginning of the month.

Okay... hope that was a little helpful.

user 8697468
Lyons, IL
Post #: 131
better to have in the agreement that the noncustodial parent is to be notified of all grades, school events, etc. by the school. Mine says the custodial parent is required to notify the school of this requirement. but the noncustodial parent can take the document to the school to notify the school, in the event that the custodial parent does not do so.

you can buy an extra school calendar, or find most school events online. you can always supply the school with self addressed stamped envelopes and ask then to main the information to you directly.

my divorce decree states that neither my ex nor I can have a live in boyfriend or girlfriend, when the children are present and all children are under the age of 18.
user 9163443
Naperville, IL
Post #: 2
When deciding your holidays, also consider the 2 weeks of winter break and spring break. Decide how visitation will be on birthdays (Theirs and yours). Decide how many weeks of vacation the both of you will have during the year. I have in my decree that the person who does not have the kids during spring break, gets first choice for summer vacation. What happens when a school holiday coincides with your visitation weekend (you should have the option of having your kids that day also).

Decide how your going to claim the children on your taxes. If you have 4 kids, that's easy, each of you claim 2. However, you also need to decide and have in writing how you will split the remaining kids on your taxes when the older ones are too old to claim.

Write down how the kids will be transported for visitation. Who will drive them to and from. This sounds nit picky, but be as specific as possible with everything. You and your ex can mutually decide to lighten up on your divorce decree after divorce, but you can't add to it after divorce without more lawyers and more money.

My ex and I mutually change our terms all the time, but if for some reason one of us is being a pain in the neck, we can always go back to the way the decree is written.
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