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PROPERTY, DEBTS, CHILDREN AND OTHER INFORMATION

* How many children were born of this marriage? ________ * Is the wife curently pregnant? [ ] Yes [ ] No

* Are any of the children 18 or less? [ ] Yes [ ] No * If over 18, are any full time students? [ ] Yes [ ] No

* Have you accumulated any real or personal property during this marriage? [ ] Yes [ ] No * Any debts? [ ] Yes [ ] No

* Has any accumulated property and debts been divided? [ ] Yes [ ] No

* PLEASE NOTE: If you have any property - including personal property such as furniture, jewelery, or an automobile, or any debts accumulated during tha marriage - or if there are any children - or if the wife is pregnant - you MUST fill out the next part of this form labeled "INTENTIONS IN REGARD TO SETTLEMENT OF MARITAL ISSUES." If there are no children, no property and no debts, then you may skip to the next section.

INTENTIONS IN REGARD TO SETTLEMENT OF MARITAL ISSUES

In regard to property and debts, you and your spouse have the right to divide your property any way you see fit unless you are going through the court system of your state.

If you are getting a divorce through the state and you don't divide everything up before it becomes a part of the divorce, then the court will make the final decision as to how everything will be divided. If the court makes the final decision, neither you nor your spouse may be pleased with the eventual outcome.

If you are doing a Dominican,Mexican or Haitian divorce, then the court has no power to divide property that is outside its jurisdiction. However, a property settlement signed by both parties, may be incorporated in and made part of the final Decree of Divorce. In this circumstance, the settlement would have the same force and effect of a contract.

If you wish to divide your property and debts without the state courts becoming involved in your affairs, only one thing is required; you and your spouse MUST agree on the division. You SHOULD also have a written agreement, called a Marital Settlement Agreement - MSA, that spells out just exactly how things are to be divided. This could save misunderstandings and even possible litigation at a later date. We strongly recommend that you prepare an MSA if you do not already have one. If you do not have an MSA, we will be happy, at your request, to provide you with the form that can be used as a basis for this agreement.

If you and your spouse can NOT agree on how to settle property issues, then you risk possible litigation in state court at a later date.

PLEASE BELIEVE THIS: IF YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE CAN SETTLE MATTERS WITHOUT INVOLVING ATTORNEYS AND THE COURT SYSTEM, YOU WILL BOTH COME OUT WAY AHEAD. Not only is it unlikely that either of you will get exactly what you want, it's quite likely that attorneys' fees will cost you more than you will gain by going through the process. Worse yet, the delay and the stress of having your life on hold until these matters are settled is just not worth it. We are NOT attorneys and we offer this and other information based on years of experience and as the best handy advice we can give. We urge you to settle these matters and get on with your life.

If you have children from the marriage who are under the age of 18 (21 in some cases), the state in which you live is very concerned that provision is made for the adequate care and support of the children.

If you are doing a state divorce, you and your spouse may agree on the amount of the support, when and how the support is to be paid, who is to have custody of the children and for what periods of time. The court will usually require that you both file forms that indicate your current income and expenses and detailed personal information. The court will then apply guidelines that will assure that, in the opinion of the court, the children are adequately provided for. If the court comes up with a support figure that is close to your proposal, and if the court agrees that your other provisions are acceptable, it may approve the proposal in order that it be followed. The court may also order that the party who is to pay support either post a cash bond or have the support deducted directly from wages. If the court does not agree with any aspect of your proposal, the court has the authority to change one or all of the provisions as it sees fit.

If you are doing a Dominican divorce, you may incorporate all provisions for support and custody in an MSA. This may or may not be submitted to a Dominican court. If it is submitted, it will almost surely be approved as submitted. As long as you and your spouse abide by the provisions of the agreement, you have no problem. If, on the other hand, either party fail to abide by the agreement or if circumstances change and you can no longer agree, then an action filed in your state court is your only alternative. If this becomes necessary, you can present the MSA to the court and ask that it be enforced just like anny other contract. The court will certainly consider this as a factor in making a final decision, but the overriding factor will be what the court believes is in the best interest of the children.

Another option is to set aside issues of custody and support and handle them separately from the divorce action. This can be accomplished by filing for a custody hearing in state court or by going to the agency in your state that is responsible for collecting child support and filing a form requesting a determination of a child support award.

One other option is that you just ignore the whole matter or settle it verbally in the "real world" whoever has custody of the child can probably function successfully in most situations under such an agreement - especially if the spouse is cooperative - but you may run into problems and situations where documentation is required.

Again, we strongly advise that you settle all matters by written agreement. If you do not choose to do this, we assume no responsibility for any custody or support problems which might occur.

We ask that you indicate your preference in regard to marital settlement issues below. Mark an "X" in the box to indicate your preference. If you do not indicate a preference, we will assume that you choose to handle these matters without our assistance. If that is the case, you hereby agree to relieve us of all responsibility for these matters.

 

 

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