My ex-spouse and I have been apart for many years and are getting a divorce. We agree on all aspects of our settlement, including our child staying in my custody full time. I want my ex-spouse to have the ability to make decisions on any issue as well? How do I go about that?
I have not been retained as your attorney so I cannot give you legal advice. However, I can offer some general information that may help you.
If you and your spouse agree to all terms, then you can have an attorney draft a “settlement agreement” as it pertains to all issues (i.e. property, debts, child custody, child support, spousal support, etc.). In the state that I am licensed to practice in, Arkansas, both parties can sign this agreement and file it at the same time one of the parties files the divorce complaint. The matter will then go in front of the judge as an “uncontested divorce” since both parties are agreeing to everything.
The judge will then likely sign off on the agreement you and your wife have drafted and signed. After the judge signs it, it will be filed with the clerk of the court. Courts only get involved in matters when the parties cannot come to an agreement on certain issues.
With that being said, I would encourage you to still have an attorney draft a settlement agreement where all terms even the decision on how you both will split parenting time is included. You will, also, want to note that you and your spouse are waving child support at this time and the reason why (i.e. the child is spending substantial blocks of time with each parent). In Arkansas, courts will be reluctant to waive child support without a noted reason since this is a benefit for the child.
While you both agree to things now and have had this arrangement for some time, you never know if something will change. It is best to have all of the details covered in case you need to modify an order later on.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.