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Divorce | Family

What Should a Man Ask for in a Divorce Settlement?

8 min read
Philip Ahn, Attorney

by Philip Ahn, Attorney

If you and your spouse agree on an uncontested divorce, you will need to draft a divorce settlement agreement outlining your financial and other obligations. Here’s what you should ask for in a divorce settlement.

A divorce settlement is a contract between two spouses where they agree how a variety of issues (from property to custody) will be handled after a divorce. 

A divorce settlement agreement lets you handle your divorce out of court. It also creates less stress and makes your divorce proceedings substantially less expensive. 

What’s more, you and your ex-spouse get to have more control over the outcome of the divorce. Specifically, what happens to your assets.

If you agree on a divorce settlement, the judge will simply look over the divorce settlement agreement and grant you the divorce. Provided, of course, that your agreement is valid and written in accordance with state laws.

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What To Ask for in a Divorce Settlement?

There are a variety of things to be addressed in your divorce settlement. And you and your future spouse will need to discuss and agree on several key issues:

There are lots of things you will need to take into account before putting your decisions in writing. It’s essential that you carefully consider each clause of the agreement and make sure your interests and the interests of your children are protected. 

Child custody and co-parenting

This is one of the most important things you will need to discuss with your spouse. In most uncontested divorces (divorces where spouses separate amicably and don’t take their case to court), parents agree on shared custody. This involves both equal time spent with the child as well as shared expenses. Here are a few other issues to discuss when managing child custody in your settlement: co-parenting schedules, vacation plans, co-parent communication, family holidays, and more. You will need to make sure that you get enough time with your child if their primary residence will be with their mother. It’s also important to look into potential future situations. For instance, what happens if one of the parents decides to move. When it comes to child custody, your divorce settlement agreement needs to be fair and reasonable. The judge looking it over will need to make sure that the provisions in your agreement are in the best interest of the child.

Alimony and child support

Most probably, if you are the higher-earning spouse, you will be responsible for both child support and alimony. Even if you take the case to court, there is a high probability that the judge will order you to make these payments. Plus, in this case, it will be the judge who decides the amount and schedule for the payments. This is why it’s best to settle this matter out of court and come to an agreement with our spouse on how you will manage the payments.

It’s essential that your divorce settlement agreement specifically addresses alimony and child support and that both you and your spouse know what your financial obligations are. Here, you should also discuss future expenses associated with supporting your child such as tuition. It’s important to clearly state your and your spouse’s financial obligations when it comes to your child’s education, healthcare, and more.

Regarding alimony, your agreement should include the amount of alimony that you and your ex-partner have agreed on as well as the schedule for these payments.

On your side, it’s important that the agreement also includes a clause on when and on what conditions these payments will terminate — for instance, if your ex-partner remarries or when your child comes of age. 


Another thing you will need to sort out in your divorce settlement agreement are health and life insurance. The higher-earning spouse will typically take on the responsibility of making health insurance payments. When it comes to life insurance, both spouses may consider leaving the other spouse as the beneficiary. In this case, if one of the spouses passes after the divorce, the other spouse will have sufficient funds to provide for themselves and the children. 

Retirement funds

Your divorce settlement agreement should detail how your retirement fund will be managed. Most retirement accounts, such as a 401k, will require a domestic relations order (QDRO) for the account to be divided. A domestic relations order will give your former spouse a portion of the benefits associated with your retirement plan. Your agreement should also define who will be responsible for completing the QDRO and how you will manage the payments related to preparing these documents.

Real estate

There should be provisions in your divorce settlement agreement that determine what happens to your family home, if you own one. If your spouse is the one who will keep the home, they will need to refinance it. If you keep the family residence, you will need to do the same. Your divorce settlement agreement should specify the time frame for the repayment. 

You can also decide to sell the family residence. In this case, some divorce settlement agreements will include clauses on when the property will be listed and even what offers can be asserted. 

How To Create a Divorce Settlement?

A divorce settlement agreement can be reached in several ways. 

Can I draft the agreement myself?

First, if you and your spouse agree on most major issues like child custody and financial matters, you can draft the agreement yourself. This is the most economical approach as you will be saving a lot on legal costs. However, this is rarely recommended. If a judge finds inconsistencies in your agreement settlement or if it’s not complete, it will be deemed invalid. If so, you will need to start from scratch, losing lots of time and money. 

What is Mediation?

Second, if you and your spouse have a number of disagreements, you can try solving them via mediation. Mediation is a form of dispute resolution where the negotiations are assisted by a third party. The third party doesn’t have to be a lawyer. Their job is to help structure the dialogue and help both parties arrive at a consensus. Mediation can be a great option if you have minor disagreements and don’t want to involve lawyers or take the dispute to court. Once you’ve settled your differences, you will need to draft the divorce settlement agreement — either independently or with the help of a lawyer (recommended).

Is hiring a divorce lawyer the best solution?

Finally, you can hire a lawyer to draft your divorce settlement agreement and assist with related negotiations. Using a lawyer is the most certain way of drafting a proper divorce settlement agreement. However, it does come with additional costs. Because there is a variety of services that a lawyer will perform when drafting a divorce settlement agreement, they generally charge you for a full set of these services. For instance, most lawyers will offer you a package price ranging from $4,000 to $15,000 and even higher. 

If your case does not involve negotiations or any other additional work, the price you will need to pay for drafting a divorce settlement agreement will be on the lower side. On the other hand, if your case is more complicated and you and your spouse have substantial disagreements, you may need to pay your lawyer extra for any additional work they might need to do. Be ready to pay from $300-$500 per hour for additional legal services.

How To Save Money on Legal Fees with Unbundled Legal Services?

Fortunately, there is a way to cut costs on legal fees using unbundled legal services. How does this work? Quite simply, when using one of the lawyers from the Unbundled Legal Help network, you will be able to pay only for the services you need — instead of a whole set of services. For instance, if you want a lawyer to look over your divorce settlement and check it for inconsistencies, you can hire one for just this specific task. As there is less workload, you will also need to pay less. Potentially, you will be saving thousands of dollars in legal fees. 

Understandably, this is not the best option for everyone. If you have a lot of issues to negotiate or have a lot of property or financial obligations to sort out, you will benefit more from having full legal representation. In this case, you can also turn to the Unbundled Legal Help network. As we work with a number of individual lawyers and smaller law firms, you may still be able to find a better deal for full legal representation. 

We can put you in touch with one of our lawyers in your area today for an estimation of your case and related costs. 

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