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The potential for future disputes when settling a divorce

Maryland couples who are facing the end of a marriage might wish to complete the divorce process as soon as possible. Legal advisers, however, recommend that time should be taken to carefully review every aspect of a divorce settlement agreement. If something is unclear, people should gain clarification and even request changes so that disputes might be avoided in the future.

Some aspects of life require ex-spouses to continue to interact, such as their children, a shared business or other investments. Although an attorney might write the settlement agreement, people know the personality and habits of their ex-spouses and how best to deal with them. Potential loopholes in the agreement that an ex-spouse might exploit should be addressed and eliminated. The goal will be to produce a clear agreement that fully explains how decisions will be made and finances will be handled. The terms expressed will create a legally binding contract. If a dispute arises that lands the ex-spouses in court, the contract will guide a judge's ruling.

If a person deviates from the terms, especially as a favor, this unofficial informal change does not alter the divorce agreement. The other party might say that a precedent was set and the terms have changed, but the person can always insist on upholding the existing written terms.

Formal post-divorce modifications are possible, but such actions require the approval of a family court to make them legally binding. Someone who wishes to change the terms of an existing settlement agreement for things like child support, custody or visitation might ask an attorney for assistance.

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