In Missouri, like in many other states, couples going through a divorce must come to an agreement on several key issues to finalize their separation legally. A divorce agreement outlines how couples will divide their assets and responsibilities after their marriage ends. According to Forbes, other names for a divorce agreement include the following:
- Mediated agreement
- Property agreement
- Marital settlement agreement
- Separation agreement
No matter what it is called, there is a need to come to an agreement on several key points to ensure a smooth and fair separation.
Division of assets and debts
Missouri follows an equitable distribution law, meaning the court divides marital property and debts fairly, though not necessarily equally. Couples should consider who will retain ownership of the marital home, how to divide personal property and how to handle shared debts.
Child custody and support
If a couple has children, their divorce agreement must outline who will have custody and how they will share parenting responsibilities. Additionally, the agreement should detail child support payments, considering the non-custodial parent’s income and the child’s needs.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is another critical aspect of a divorce agreement. Couples should consider the amount and duration of these payments. Factors such as the length of the marriage, each partner’s financial resources and the standard of living during the marriage can affect spousal support decisions.
Retirement accounts represent another crucial aspect to consider. Division of these assets depends on the type of account, the length of the marriage and other factors. One must understand how to handle these assets to avoid tax penalties and protect their future financial stability.
Couples should also plan for future changes. A divorce agreement should include provisions for changing circumstances, such as a change in income, relocation or remarriage. These provisions can make managing changes smoother and help avoid conflicts in the future.
Crafting a divorce agreement requires careful thought and consideration. From the division of assets and debts to planning for future changes, couples must address numerous factors. By taking the time to thoroughly consider each element, couples can create a comprehensive divorce agreement that reflects their circumstances and protects their interests.