The Biggest Obstacle in Negotiating a Marital Settlement Agreement

Divorcing couples with minor children face additional obstacles in negotiating a marital settlement agreement. Dividing property, agreeing to who pays what debts, and who gets the good china are usually not the biggest obstacles to negotiating a marital settlement agreement. When minor children are involved, the biggest obstacles in coming to an agreement are usually:

1. Child Support. Sometimes couples forget that coming to an agreement concerning child support is not about making one party pay, and the other party getting money. It is about providing financial support for the minor children of the marriage. When the parties fail to remember that it is about supporting the children, the party who needs to do the paying may lie about or hide their income.

2. Time-sharing. Both parties (barring any reasons to the contrary) are entitled to spend time with their children. The parent who was the primary caregiver of the minor child may now feel that the other parent doesn’t deserve more time than they spent with the child before the divorce. Courts encourage 50/50 time-sharing whenever possible. The concern is always what is in the best interests of the child, and for the child’s life to continue as normal as possible, even though the parents are getting divorced.

3. Marital Residence. When children are involved in a divorce, the former marital residence becomes more of an obstacle because the children need a place to live and the disruption in their lives should be kept to a minimum

Getting divorced and negotiating resolutions of issues is tough enough when there are no children involved. When children are involved, the entire dynamics of negotiating a marital settlement agreement changes, essentially until the children have reached the age of 18. Parties need to be prepared to amicably work out these arrangements, causing the least amount of grief and stress for themselves and for their children. No matter how hard parties may try, the stress of the divorce will spill over into the children’s lives. The way to avoid this is to come to the settlement table prepared to negotiate and compromise so that the best interests of the children are truly served.

Marc Plotnick, Esquire and Paul Horning, Esquire are ready to help. Plotnick Law, P.A. offers family and marital law services including divorce, custody, child support, paternity actions, dependency, modifications, and post final judgment of dissolution matters. Contact our offices at 1-727-577-3300 to schedule a consultation today. We are here to help!