When is the deadline for a payment or for something to happen? What are the consequences? Often when spouses resolve their divorce issues on their own, they either neglect to describe or detail deadlines for payments or actions, or they write the deadline in such a way that it is too unclear or ambiguous to enforce. For example, a couple may agree that one spouse will pay the other a certain amount to buy-out the other’s interest in the family home, or pay-off community debts such as credit cards, or take out a loan from a 401(k), but then they neglect to specify when that payment or action will occur. They may even describe how this payment will be made in great detail, but forget to describe when, or vice-versa. There are various ways this can be messed-up.
Consider the following:
If one party will buy-out the other’s interest in the Family Home, certain terms should be agreed-upon and incorporated into the Judgment.
1) When will the buy-out occur? Be sure to specify a deadline for payment that is realistic, certain, and enforceable.
2) How much will the buy-out amount be? Be sure to specify either a specific amount or a specific method for calculating the amount, such as an appraisal as of a certain date.
3) What will the consequences be for failing to accomplish the buy-out by the deadline? Be sure to specify the consequences, such as the defaulting party immediately moves out, signs the property over to the other party, and relinquishes all interest in the property.
This is where an attorney can help make sure an agreement is in your favor, specific enough, and enforceable. To avoid the Deadline mistakes, please be sure to specify exactly what is to happen, when it is to happen, and what are the consequences if it fails to happen.
The Law Office Of Andrew J. McCall represents Family Law litigants in Contra Costa & Solano Counties, so, if you know someone who has been trying to do his/her own divorce and is having problems, have him/her contact me to discuss representation or consultation.