What Is a Global Agreement in a Divorce Case?

By Beverly Bird

When something is global, it addresses or involves every aspect of an issue. If you're divorcing, reaching a global agreement with your spouse generally means you've had a meeting of the minds on how to sever or tie up every possible string that holds you together. This includes custody and child support, if you have children. It also covers property division, debt division and alimony. It addresses retirement plans, the marital home – even disposition of a business, if you own one. Some states, such as New Jersey, don't use the word "global." They refer to such an agreement as "comprehensive."

The Result

If you have a global or comprehensive settlement agreement, you have an uncontested divorce. In some states, such as California, you won't even have to go to court – you can submit the agreement to a judge for signature and approval, and you'll be divorced. If you and your spouse disagree on even one small thing – such as how to structure parenting time so you can each see your children on holidays – your agreement isn't global, and you'll likely have to go to trial to have the judge decide any remaining issues.

The Alternative

Contested divorces typically take longer and cost more. The more issues you and your spouse disagree on, the more the process costs and the longer it takes. But negotiating a global agreement can take time as well. If you can reach an agreement before you or your spouse files for divorce, you can usually streamline the proceedings considerably.

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References

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After a Divorce Agreement Is Settled, How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?

Don't expect to mark a date on your calendar when your family law judge will sign off on your divorce agreement. You and your spouse may have worked hard and efficiently to come to a compromise on all issues, but the court has its own review process.

How to Get a Non-Contested Divorce in Illinois

An uncontested, or non-contested, divorce is typically considered the easiest way to end your marriage. It's less stressful and less costly than a contested divorce -- plus, you can often complete it in only two weeks or so in Illinois. The most significant requirement is that you and your spouse must get along well enough to negotiate a resolution of all your issues on your own, without any involvement of the court.

Unconscionable Divorce Agreement

Most states prefer that spouses negotiate a marital settlement agreement on their own when they divorce, rather than ask the court to decide issues at trial. These agreements must usually be submitted to a judge for approval before they are incorporated into decrees or judgments. A judge won't approve your agreement if it's unconscionable. If you don't file for divorce, but just remain separated under your agreement's terms, it may not be enforceable either.

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