You may be in close contact with a separated spouse or ex where a verbal agreement and ongoing communication has worked so far. However, family experts advise that it is smart to put important arrangements in writing.
Written contracts are enforceable
The idea behind drafting an agreement is to outline or formalize the details. Even if those details that have verbally been agreed upon, it is advisable to put it into writing so the parties can refer to the contract if there is a dispute. Two important areas of family life where this is important are the following:
Alimony and child support: The amount of alimony and support is generally arrived at by looking at standards of living, state laws, income, age or health. Perhaps there was an understanding that a spouse would be paid less than the ruling because of a loss of employment or unexpected expense – however, that spouse can later come back and say that they were not paid the correct amount of alimony. A modification put in writing about the change in payment would avoid this dispute.
Custody and parenting schedules: Without a written agreement, there is no clear indication of who has decision-making rights. Children have busy lives these days, so a well-drafted parenting time schedule involve the details of daily schedules as well as holidays, vacations, birthdays and special occasions. Everyone can refer back to this if there are questions of obligations or scheduling.
Avoid regrettable mistakes
Misunderstandings can lead to feelings of anger or frustration. This can negatively impact those around you, including children and loved ones. It can be a fight in front of the family, or it can lead to unexpected litigation. Either way, it can leave an unpleasant and lasting impact. By working with a family law attorney, both parents will have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities by putting it in writing, which can help avoid unpleasant and unnecessary disputes.