Family proceedings can be long, costly, and traumatic for the parties involved. The ultimate goal of a divorce is for both parties to agree on most of the terms. On many occasions, the spouses reach an agreement after the mediation process, on other occasions, after struggling for long months in court, the spouses decide to reach an agreement, and put an end to the divorce process. In today's blog we are going to be talking about the Marital Settlement Agreement.
The Marital Settlement Agreement is nothing more than a contract where the parties memorialize the agreements they have reached. This document is signed by both spouses and is binding, so the parties and the court must abide by its clauses.
The Marital Settlement Agreement can be presented at any point in the process, and generally once the court receives it, the final hearing can be scheduled to obtain a divorce decree and terminate the case.
The Marital Settlement Agreement must include provisions regarding alimony or pension between the spouses; provisions on the equitable distribution of the assets that make up the matrimonial community of assets; clauses relating to the distribution of debts in common; issues regarding tax filing; matters concerning child support; among others. Provisions regarding the custody and care of minors, visiting hours and forms of communication may be included in this agreement, however, these issues are better addressed in a Parenting Plan, which can be incorporated into the Marital Settlement Agreement. The reason why some attorneys, including me, prefer to have matters relating to minors outside of the Marital Settlement Agreement, is because the Parenting Plan can be modified throughout the life of the minor, and it is easier to modify that the Marital Settlement Agreement.
The most important thing about the Marital Settlement Agreement is that it is an agreement of the parties, and it reflects the will and the negotiations to which the parties arrived, and from that moment the relationship of the future ex-spouses will govern. Generally, once signed, this is an agreement that cannot be changed, except if both parties so wish.
The proposal for the signing of the agreement can come from a spouse, or both. If you receive a Marital Settlement Agreement proposal and you do not agree with its clauses, no problem, you do not have to sign it without negotiating it first. Nor should you be forced to enter into an agreement if you do not agree to it. Remember that ultimately, the judge has the last word, in case the parties do not reach a solution on their own.
In the event that one of the parties does not comply with the provisions of the agreement, the other may file a motion in court to enforce what was agreed by the parties.
If you need help with your family process, trust our firm. At Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A. we can help you with your process and make the transition to your new life easier. In Y. Morejon Attorney, P.A. your problem is our problem.