A divorce settlement is a written agreement, arrangement, or other verbal understanding reached, as with other business or financial dealings between two adults who are intent on divorce. It serves as the formal agreement between the adults regarding the terms of the divorce. It is signed by both parties to agree upon all matters relating to property distribution and child custody, visitation, child support, and other divorce-related issues. The divorce settlement is also referred to as a final decree, court order, legal agreement, or court resolution.
In a divorce settlement, one party (spouse) may offer to pay alimony to the other (defendant) after the final dissolution of marriage. Alimony is paid to the spouse receiving it after the conclusion of the divorce settlement. Alimony payments are to be made according to the schedule agreed upon between the spouses. It can be awarded for a specified period of time, which can range from several years to a specific number of years. There are some circumstances that can make a longer term of alimony impractical, such as a higher earning capacity of one spouse, or health or age factors. Once the duration of the alimony is reached, the terms become 'permanent' and are binding.
Divorce settlements may result in different payment amounts to one or both of the spouses, depending on the circumstances of the case. Payment amounts can either be outlined in the divorce decree itself or they can be settled outside of the court system. In a divorce settlement involving regular monthly payments, alimony payments are often handled outside of the court system. In this type of arrangement, the divorce decree refers to the schedule of payments, which may be for a fixed or indeterminable period of time. If the divorce decree refers to an amount of lifetime alimony, the spouse paying the alimony must agree to this arrangement.