The end goal in your divorce is the legal severance of your marriage, which allows you and your spouse to regain your single status. At the end of this road is a document called a divorce decree that spells out the terms of your divorce. A judge will enter this decree into the official docket, and this entry means the divorce is final.
When negotiating and drafting the decree, keep these three things in mind.
1. Property division
The way you and your spouse split property, including assets and cash, will have to go in the decree. Splitting a retirement account, such as a 401(k), has to go through a process; however, putting the specific terms of how and when the split occurs should also have a place in the decree. Since this is a judgment, it needs to contain everything you want to enforce should the other party not comply.
2. Child support
Each state has its own way of calculating child support and the duration of the support. Sometimes, however, deviations in the state calculator occur as long as the parties agree. This may occur due to other factors that influence the amount, such as the following:
- Current employment of both parents
- Potential future income of one or both parents
- Living expenses
- Time split between households
3. Child visitation and custody
Custody and visitation are two separate factors that the decree also needs to include. Courts in New York typically like to award each parent an equal share of legal custody giving them each the right to make decisions for the children. Visitation, however, is something the parties negotiate throughout the process. This does not have to divide equally, but it does need to designate the parent who has primary physical custody for purposes of school zoning.