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New Year, New You – Modifying the Terms of Your Settlement Agreement

New Year, New You – Modifying the Terms of your Settlement Agreement

THE NEW YEAR IS AN OPPORTUNE TIME TO UPDATE YOUR SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.

Eat less. Exercise more. Work less. Spend more time with family. Fewer bad habits. More good habits. All the typical New Year’s resolutions that often become cast aside once the shiny optimism of the New Year meets the grim reality of the daily grind.

What if you could change the things that weigh down your day-to-day-life? Would that help enable you to make some of those New Year’s resolutions come true?

For many people, day-to-day-life involves raising children under the terms of a divorce or paternity settlement agreement. The agreement might be so seldom looked at that it’s collecting dust in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, or so oft-used (or abused?) that you could quote it word for word like your favorite song lyrics. In either case, now is an excellent time to consider whether your agreement needs a refresh. In some cases, you and your ex-spouse never followed the terms of the agreement to begin with, and have been happily writing your own script for years. While in other cases, though, you and your ex-spouse fight tooth and nail about every nagging issue.

THINK OF A NEW, FORMALIZED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT AS YOUR NEW YEAR’S INSURANCE POLICY.

If we get along, why upset things by modifying the agreement we’ve never followed anyway, you may ask? Because once one person no longer agrees with the current arrangement, then the settlement agreement goes into effect. This situation can be particularly jarring when you’ve become so comfortable in a daily routine that a disagreement genuinely impacts how you live on a regular basis. So, if you and your former significant other are getting along so well on your own terms, why not parlay that goodwill into a new agreement to formalize the positive thing you two have going?

How can we ever come to terms on a new settlement agreement, if we can’t agree that the sky is blue? Realistically, maybe you can’t entirely revamp your settlement agreement from beginning to end. But there is room for creative solutions in almost every conflict.

Meditation brings you two to the table in an environment designed to generate out-of-the-box ideas to resolve conflicts that have been a thorn in your side for months or years.

Mediation also has a way of forcing communication about sensitive issues, communication that needs to happen but often doesn’t because of past hurts, built-up tension, or unmet expectations. If you genuinely attend mediation in good faith with a mindset to work through the issues, there is likely chance of success and a chance that you’ll be freed up to work on some of those New Year’s resolutions.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO MODIFY THE TERMS OF YOUR EXISTING AGREEMENT, BEGIN BY TAKING THESE 5 STEPS:

1) Outline what you want to change so that it’s clear and easy to understand.
2) Contact your former significant other with your proposal.
3) If things become heated, be willing to listen to the other person’s concerns.
4) Consider whether mediation may help bridge the gap between the agreement you have and the agreement you want to live by.

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