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Marital Settlement Agreement

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement in a Divorce

It can be challenging to manage the complex and emotional process of divorce. The Marital Settlement Agreement is one of the most crucial components of a divorce. This agreement, which details the divorce’s conditions, is an essential part of the divorce process. 

In this article, we’ll explain what a Marital Settlement Agreement is, why it is significant, and how to go about drafting one.

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

A Marital Settlement Agreement is a legal document that specifies the terms of a divorce. The division of assets, child custody, and child support are only a few of the many topics that are covered in this agreement. The Marital Settlement Agreement essentially serves as a road map outlining the divorce settlement process. This document is typically drafted by divorce attorneys and is signed by both parties. 

The agreement becomes a court order once both parties have signed it. This means that both parties are legally bound to follow the terms of the agreement. The court may hold one party in contempt if they don’t follow the conditions of the agreement. 

The Marital Settlement Agreement covers a wide range of topics, including the division of assets, child custody, and child support. These are important issues that need to be addressed to finalize the divorce.

Division of Assets

The division of assets is a key part of the Marital Settlement Agreement. This section outlines how assets will be divided during the divorce. This can include everything from bank accounts to real estate to retirement accounts. The division of assets can be a contentious issue, but it is important to agree to finalize the divorce.

Child Custody

Child custody is another important issue that needs to be addressed in the Marital Settlement Agreement. This section outlines how custody will be divided between the two parties. Keep in mind that the best interests of the child should always come first when making custody decisions.

Child Support

Child support is designed to ensure that the child is financially supported by both parents.

This section outlines how much child support will be paid and by whom. 

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, is a significant aspect of many marital settlement agreements. It is a provision that addresses the financial support one spouse may be required to provide to the other after divorce. Spousal maintenance is typically based on factors such as the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, their financial needs, and the standard of living during the marriage. The marital settlement agreement will specify the amount, duration, and frequency of the spousal maintenance payments, along with any conditions or circumstances that may modify or terminate the support. Including spousal maintenance provisions in a marital settlement agreement helps ensure financial stability and fairness for both spouses as they transition into post-divorce life. It is important to consult with a divorce attorney to understand the specific laws and guidelines related to spousal maintenance in your jurisdiction and to negotiate terms that align with your unique circumstances.

Understanding your marital settlement agreement

Understanding one’s marital settlement agreement is of utmost importance for several reasons. First, the agreement dictates the terms and conditions that will govern the post-divorce life of both parties, including crucial aspects such as the division of assets, child custody and support, spousal maintenance, and other financial matters. By comprehending the agreement, individuals can ensure that their rights and interests are protected and that the terms align with their expectations and needs. 

Second, understanding the agreement allows individuals to make informed decisions regarding their future, such as financial planning, housing arrangements, and child-rearing responsibilities. It provides clarity and certainty, reducing the potential for misunderstandings or disputes down the line. Moreover, a thorough understanding of the marital settlement agreement enables individuals to seek legal advice, if necessary, to address any concerns or ambiguities before finalizing the agreement. Ultimately, having a clear comprehension of the agreement empowers individuals to make sound decisions, navigate the divorce process more effectively, and move forward with confidence into their new chapter of life.

Finally, people should assume that they will need to live with their marital settlement agreement for their entire life. While aspects of an MSA can be revised, the process for doing this is very complicated and can be costly.

Get help from professionals

Navigating a divorce and creating a Marital Settlement Agreement can be a complex and emotional process. That’s why it’s important to work with professionals who can guide you through the process. Our Purposeful Wealth Advisors team works closely with divorce attorneys, accountants, and other dedicated professionals to arrive at comprehensive solutions for our clients.

If you’re going through a divorce, you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you navigate the process and create a Marital Settlement Agreement that works for you.