Marital settlement agreements and Separation Contracts can be used to formalize an agreement between spouses prior to finalizing a divorce. The process can be done quickly on an informal basis or with the assistance of a skilled mediator.
A marital settlement agreement is a contractual agreement entered into by a husband and wife to divided their marital estate and to resolve custody and support issues in a manner that is acceptable to both parties. The settlement reached can be much more detailed and individualized than a judge’s ruling and can include provisions that a judge would normally not have included but are important to the parties. The parties can work with their attorneys to make sure that their individual needs are accounted for while providing a fair division of the parties’ assets and debts. The agreement can provide for support payments both parties are comfortable with and parenting arrangements that fit your particular situation and needs.
A marital settlement agreement can also be used by parties who want to have a temporary separation with the certainty of knowing how the divorce will be decided if they are unable to save their marriage or reconcile. Clients will often want to file for a legal separation in order to preserve the other spouse’s health insurance, or to remove the other party’s financial obligations from the relationship.
It is the policy of the Courts to encourage Settlements and to adopt agreements made by the parties. A court will almost always approve an agreement that is fair and informed. The agreement can then be incorporated into the Decree of Dissolution or into a Stipulated Judgment.