Divorce Settlement Agreements handle the monetary obligations of each spouse in a Texas divorce. These agreements address three primary matters, all of which are numbers-based: child support, maintenance (commonly known as alimony in other states), and division of assets. Each of these items is either expressed as a number or as an estimated value expressed in numbers. Given the importance of these numbers, it’s crucial to ensure that they are accurate and reflect the intentions of both parties.
How Divorce Settlement Agreements Are Interpreted in Texas
In Texas, a Divorce Settlement Agreement is interpreted as a contract. The primary goal is to ascertain the parties’ intent from the language of the agreement. Contracts are read to seek the original intent of the parties who entered into the contract. The intent of the parties must be determined from the contract as a whole and not from any one clause standing alone. Every part of the contract should be given meaning and effect, and no part should be rejected unless absolutely necessary. If the language of the contract is ambiguous, extrinsic evidence may be introduced to explain the language.
Using Numbers And Words in a Texas Settlement Agreement
To avoid any ambiguity, Texas divorce attorneys often write the number in both words and digits. For instance: “John will pay Jane One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) a month in child support.” This approach provides clarity while ensuring against potential errors like a missing decimal point or incorrect digits. If there’s a discrepancy between the words and the digits, the words typically prevail as they more accurately reflect the intentions of the parties.
Values in a Texas Divorce Settlement Agreement
When dividing an asset in a Texas Divorce Settlement Agreement, the asset’s value should be listed. This ensures clarity and transparency in the division process. However, in practice, assets are rarely valued when both parties are in agreement, as courts tend to favor amicable settlements.
Percentages in a Texas Divorce Settlement Agreement
Texas courts aim to divide marital property in just proportions. These proportions are often expressed in percentages to reflect a specific division of the assets. However, it’s preferable to set specific numbers of what each party is to receive. For assets that fluctuate significantly, such as retirement accounts holding stocks and bonds, a percentage split might be more appropriate. In such cases, the retirement accounts typically have explicit plans that divide themselves accurately based on the plan’s guidelines.
Child support in Texas is determined based on specific guidelines and may not be listed as a percentage of income. Maintenance, on the other hand, can be listed as a percentage of net income. However, percentages of ongoing obligations require constant review and should be avoided when possible to prevent future disputes.
In conclusion, numbers play a crucial role in Texas Divorce Settlement Agreements. It’s essential to ensure clarity, accuracy, and mutual understanding to prevent future disputes. If you’re looking to draft or modify a Divorce Settlement Agreement in Texas, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced Texas family law attorney.