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How to Create a Good Divorce Stipulation

By Mike Broemmel ; Updated June 13, 2017

A divorce stipulation is a written statement that outlines the specific matters agreed to by the couple, according to the American Bar Association Section on Family Law. A stipulation is prepared prior to a divorce hearing or trial and presented to the court. With a stipulation at hand, the judge need not address issues on which the parties previously agreed.

  1. Schedule a meeting with your spouse to discuss the status of your divorce case and what issues are no longer on the table for discussion.

  2. Obtain a standard divorce stipulation form. The clerk of the court where your case pends should be able to provide you with this form, together with instructions on how to complete the divorce stipulation.

  3. Prepare your own written list of resolved issues in your divorce case in advance of the meeting with your spouse. Suggest that your spouse prepare a similar list.

  4. Attend the scheduled meeting with your spouse, and share the contents of your mutual lists.

  5. Create a master list of the matters clearly resolved between you and your spouse. If issues on either list do not seem to be resolved, attempt to reach an agreement during the course of your meeting. However, do not let the meeting degenerate into argumentation. If you discover that an issue or two exists that you or your spouse thought was resolved, but is not, it can be taken up at the hearing or trial.

  6. Insert the issues you and your spouse agree on into the divorce stipulation form; review the completed stipulation form and make sure your spouse does the same.

  7. Execute the divorce stipulation. Both you and your spouse sign the document. Then make copies of the original divorce stipulation for both you and your spouse.

  8. File the divorce stipulation with the clerk of the court before your scheduled hearing or trial date.

  9. Warnings

    Preparing a legally binding divorce stipulation is not an easy task. The fact is that lawyers struggle with appropriately preparing this type of document. Therefore, seriously consider retaining the services of a lawyer to assist with at least this aspect of your divorce case. The American Bar Association maintains a variety of resources to assist you in finding an experienced lawyer. These resources include contact information for local and state bar organizations in your areas. Additionally, the American Bar Association maintains a directory of organizations that provide pro bono, or no cost, legal representation to individuals unable to pay for a private attorney.

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