Marital Settlement Agreements

 Let’s face it: divorce doesn’t need to be treated like a dirty world in the eyes of the public. After all, given the country’s relatively high rate of divorce, splitting up is an unfortunate reality which faces many couples.

Although nobody wants to think about what happens when a marriage goes south, the fact remains that life goes on after divorce.

If you’re staring at the harsh reality of divorce, consider how taking the proper precautions and paying attention to the legal aspects of your life after marriage will ultimately make it easier for both you and your spouse to move forward.

Bear in mind that the specifics of each divorce varies from couple to couple. Despite popular belief, divorce doesn’t automatically mean that you’re automatically entitled to specific assets or compensation, nor does it mean that you stand to lose everything.

That being said, the finer details of a marital settlement agreement will ultimately determine what happens to your finances and property after your marriage ends.

What Exactly Does a Marital Settlement Agreement Do?

In short, a marital settlement agreement is exactly what it sounds like: an agreement between spouses that settles specifics terms of a divorce. These terms include but are not limited to the following:

  • How property is divided post-divorce, which isn’t always a 50/50 split: factors such as existing debt, income contributions by each spouse also come into play
  • How debt is divided and distributed among spouses: earnings are assessed to determine how much each spouse contributed to the marriage
  • Alimony and spousal support: paid over time or as a lump sum, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to alimony given its complicated nature (hint: it’s incredibly helpful to have an experienced lawyer assess the situation)
  • The specifics of child custody and time-sharing: although child custody battles can quickly become nasty when trying to determine out the details of shared parenting versus sole custody, the well-being of any children involved must come first and foremost
  • The specifics of child support payments and obligations: it’s crucial that couples come to a compromise that doesn’t negatively impact the future of their children

As noted, the details of a marital settlement agreement are ultimately determined by both parties and are likewise influenced by factors such as specifics outlined in existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.

What Actually Happens During a Marital Settlement Agreement?

 Oftentimes, spouses will meet alongside their lawyers to sit down and iron out the details of specific assets, essentially avoiding a one-way conversation where one spouse dominates the other. In the case of a marital settlement agreement, spouses must have separate attorneys representing them.

Although spouses have the option of going through the process without an attorney, they will inevitably put themselves at a disadvantage and in potential financial danger by not understanding the legalese involved with such a settlement. With a seasoned lawyer on hand, spouses can go into mediation with peace of mind and know that they’ll receive a fair deal from their divorce.

Want to Learn More about Marital Settlement Agreements?

Don’t make the mistake of going through a marital settlement agreement without an experienced attorney by your side. Whether you’re about to go through the process yourself or simply want to know more about what an MSA entails, feel free to contact us today for more information.