Nancy Weller, LLC Attorney at Law

Settlement Agreements

When you are contemplating separation and/or divorce, a couple's goal should be to negotiate a fair settlement agreement. A settlement agreement is a written contract that resolves all the issues that a court would otherwise have to resolve. Entering into a settlement agreement allows the parties to (1) resolve problems or issues in creative ways that best suits their circumstances—many people don't realize that courts are limited in the remedies they can provide, (2) maintain control and privacy over their issues, (3) avoid the high costs, both financial and emotional of contested litigation, and (4) resolve issues on their own schedule—avoid the court system's complex and time consuming procedures.

Most couples hire attorneys to represent them when they are going to separate or have separated. Ideally two attorneys can help a couple by educating them on the law, analyzing the information and issues unique to each case, offering options to resolve each issue, and successfully negotiating a settlement agreement. Be careful in interviewing potential lawyers that he/she is geared toward helping you resolve your case and is not an antagonist. The last thing you need to do is to hire an attorney that approaches your case like a bulldog. I recommend couples hire two collaborative trained lawyers. They are specially trained to resolve cases without contested litigation.

Some couples can negotiate with one another without attorneys. If you don't hire attorneys to represent you in the negotiation of a settlement agreement, you each should have attorneys review your proposed agreement before you sign it. This is to make sure you know the ramifications of what you are signing and have included all the appropriate provisions.

Some common subjects/issues of inclusion in a settlement agreement are:

  1. Identify each of your assets, including real, personal, and intangible items, how it each is titled, and how each will be handled—transferred, sold, divided or remain as is;
  2. Identify each of your debts and how each will be handled;
  3. Health insurance for you, your spouse, and the children;
  4. Life insurance;
  5. Child Custody and Visitation, Child Support;
  6. Spousal Support/Alimony;
  7. Taxes;
  8. College costs; and
  9. Pets.

If you would like to discuss settlement agreements in further detail or have questions, you can reach me at 410-263-3660 or by email at

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