Couples used to be required to live apart for a year before they could file for divorce. In 2015, a law was passed allowing couples without minor children to forgo this step. Now, they can file relatively quickly if they already have a written agreement about their property division in place. What do you need to consider in your agreement? Here are some of the important points to include.
1. The marital home
Whether you own or rent a home together, you will need to decide your living situation after the divorce. Is someone going to continue living there while the other person moves away? Or are you both going to move? How will you split the profit from selling the house, if you own it? If you are not selling it, you will need to transfer the mortgage to the person staying there.
2. Your belongings
Property division can be very tedious because couples tend to accumulate a lot of belongings during their time together. Who gets what? Belongings from before the marriage or that were received as gifts are probably easy to decide. What about items that belong to both of you, like furniture you bought together? Have a plan for how you will divide up what you own.
3. Bank/retirement accounts
You probably own at least a few accounts together, such as bank accounts and credit card accounts. Include an agreement on how these will be divided. Will you split your savings 50/50? Or is another amount appropriate based on the difference in your incomes? What will you do about credit and debit cards? You also need to plan for retirement and decide how a retirement account, like a 401(k), should be divided.
If you have any debts, like debts from your credit cards or student loans, you need to decide who will pay them off. It may make sense for both of you to continue contributing towards them if they apply to both of you. Plan how you will do this and how much each person owes.
Depending on your situation, it may make sense for one spouse to receive alimony payments if he or she needs financial support. Talk about whether one of you should receive alimony, how much and for how long.
If you negotiate an agreeable plan for your divorce, you can save yourselves a lot of time, money and stress by not needing to wait a year to start your divorce process. Divorce greatly impacts your financial state though. Consulting an attorney is key to make sure you are not missing any important discussion points and that your plan allows you to support yourself after property division.