Divorce Guide

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What is marital settlement agreement ?


Marital settlement agreement: it is a written agreement entered into by the spouses getting a divorce or legal separation stating their rights and agreements pertaining to property, support and custody.

You can decide the terms and conditions of your divorce. You can negotiate it with your spouse and agree upon it through the process called as uncontested divorce. The written contract that contains all the terms of the divorce is called as a marital settlement agreement. It may otherwise be termed as property settlement agreement. A copy of this is attached to the divorce decree. The terms of the settlement are created legally and are enforceable obligations on each of the party.

Marital settlement agreement should cover:

  1. A marital settlement agreement should cover all the terms of divorce. It should include each and every thing in writing.
  2. Parenting agreement which sets the legal custody of the child. visitation details, and all the issues related to the raising of the children
  3. Child support order addressing the amount of support amount to be paid every month and details of how it is to be paid. When the child support will get terminated the penalties and delinquent payments
  4. Spousal support order that states if the support is long term or a short term. It should include the amount of support, how it is to be paid and the terms under which it will get terminated. It should also contain details of the renewal of the support
  5. Detailed list of property, furnishings, automobiles, etc
  6. Details of the each and every joint accounts owned by the spouses
  7. Provision of the marital home
  8. Detailed instructions how the spouses will file their income tax returns after the divorce in future
  9. Details of the amount of debt and who will be responsible for which debt
  10. Details regarding the disputes and how they are to be solved in future

Approval of the marital settlement agreement by court:

Courts are reluctant to interfere into marital settlement agreement. There are certain situations in which he court will reject he marital settlement agreement wholly or partly. This may happen when:

  1. Any one of the spouse indicated that the marital settlement agreement was not entered voluntarily
  2. The marital settlement agreement is difficult to understand
  3. Any one spouse seems to give up significant assets to the other without anything in return
  4. Any party is ignorant about the rights with regards to the property and asset distribution
  5. Custodial parent waives or accepts greatly reduced child support
  6. One spouse gives up interest in the marital portion of the others retirement accounts

Partial marital settlement agreement:

This is done when the spouses are not able to reach a marital settlement agreement on all the issues. The spouses may submit only the unresolved issues to the court for determination during the trial. In these matters the court will rule on the outstanding issues leaving out the marital settlement agreement that is negotiated by the spouses intact.

Should you get a lawyer for marital settlement agreement?

You can write your own marital settlement agreement. It is good to have an attorney at least look over the terms of agreement. He may be able to use legal language, highlight any important legal issues, and see that the legal rights are protected.


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