Can my wife and I draft and execute our own settlement agreement?

UPDATED: Sep 4, 2012

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Can my wife and I draft and execute our own settlement agreement?

I am going through a divorce and recently lost my job, To provide a bit of a cushion, I have withdrawn my entire retirement fund. I have discussed things with the ex and we have agreed to divide the funds 40/60. All of our other property is split. Also, we do not have children. If I write up an agreement about the 403b plan and pay her the 40 percent, would it hold up in court if we both sign the document?

Asked on September 4, 2012 under Family Law, Michigan


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Courts really like it when parties can come to their own agreements and, as long as the division of property is fair, they will usually approve any agreements that the parties arrive at.  So yes, you can write and file the agreement.  However, the divorce will not be finalized until an order is signed by the judge.  So, you also need to put the contents of the agreement into a final decree.  Final decrees can affect liabilities or obligations in the future, so you want to make sure that it's written correctly-- once the order is signed, you'll be stuck with the result.  Some attorneys will help you draft the final decree or order without getting involved in the divorce.  This is much cheaper than having full legal representation, but safer than having none. 

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