It’s nerve-wracking and upsetting to end your marriage. Divorce in itself can be a significant stressor in one’s life.
When navigating through the divorce process, you will come across a plethora of legal documents. The marital settlement agreement is one of the most important documents you’ll be working on through the divorce process.
When it comes to the marital settlement agreement, there is a lot to uncover and remember. It is, after all, the most critical document that your attorney will draft.
The marital settlement agreement: An introduction
To understand the terms of the divorce settlement, the very first thing you need to understand is: what is the divorce separation agreement?
The divorce separation agreement is also called the property settlement agreement, and it is the most critical document you’ll handle throughout the divorce process.
Your divorce attorney will draft this. the divorce separation agreement is a comprehensive document covering various terms of a divorce settlement.
When drafted and signed by both parties (the spouses), tthe agreement is a binding contract. This binding contract defines and describes every term of the divorce.
Depending on the type of issues in your marriage, the MSA is drafted to address them in the divorce.
For instance, if you and your spouse are property owners, the property distribution will be delineated in detail. All the terms covering spousal maintenance will be clearly outlined in the agreement for alimony.
If you and your spouse have a child or children together, then child custody and support, parenting plan and time, and everything related to your children will be covered.
When you and your spouse have signed the marital settlement agreement, this legally binding contract goes into effect immediately.
Exploring the purpose of a Massachusetts divorce separation agreement
As already mentioned, the very idea of ending your marriage can be extremely stressful and intimidating. On top of that, hiring an attorney and divorcing a spouse is equally stressful.
Divorce settlements are something that is very strongly encouraged by the judiciary system. The courts highly favor settlements through the filing of a divorce separation agreement divorce cases can be settled quickly and efficiently. This, in turn, is great for freeing up the court’s calendar.
Apart from the stressful and time-consuming nature of a full divorce trial in court, there’s another critical part of any agreement.
It’s important to remember that any qualified family law attorney can efficiently and accurately draft an agreement. Such attorneys can easily present the innumerable advantages of negotiating with your ex rather than going to court.
A complete divorce trial in court is also costly. It’s not cost-effective. So, it’s just way better to opt for a settlement outside court with a qualified family law attorney. It’ll save you from stress, time wastage, and money wastage.
The most critical advantage of opting for a settlement proposal divorce is that an agreement can equip you with some control and power.
In case of settlement, you and your ex have a lot more control over the divorce terms. If taken to court, you relinquish that control. The judge makes every decision on your behalf.
Marital settlement agreement: What you should know?
To reap the advantages of opting for a marital settlement agreement instead of a full divorce trial in court, it is imperative to know the content of a marriage settlement agreement.
It would help if you were well-versed with the divorce separation agreement checklist so that you can exercise proper control and power in the divorce.
When you’re collaborating with your family law attorney in drafting your marital agreement, it is vital to consider every piece of your married life. Not only that, but it’s also equally important to prioritize your family’s requirements post-divorce.
These are the key items of a marital settlement agreement:
Firstly, it’s important to address whether there is any alimony involved in the settlement. Questions such as whether there’s a need for paying alimony, duration of alimony, the alimony amount, continued health insurance coverage, etc., should be addressed and answered while drafting your MSA.
Circumstances where the alimony needs to be reviewed or ended must also be identified.
When it comes to children, there’s a lot that needs to be thoroughly addressed and covered when you prepare your marital settlement agreement.
It’s important to decide whether the partners want joint legal custody of the children involved. After that, these are some of the key things that must be covered under the child support settlement agreement:
Parent of Primary Residence
Parent of Secondary Residence
A parenting plan that includes the regular schedule and the holiday schedule (including school breaks and vacations).
Access to medical records and overall health-related records
Access to school records
Right to be involved in the school functions and events (excluding extracurricular activities)
Special issues or circumstances surrounding child
Private school costs and tuition
3. Assets and debts
Another vital aspect covered by a marital settlement agreement is the assets and liabilities of both parties involved. The agreement has to identify every debt and asset and allocate the same. This includes:
Lines of credit
Home equity loans
Employment provided assets
Ownership interests in business
Stocks and bonds
4. Tax issues
The agreement must also cover tax issues. These include issues such as tax credits, dependency deductions, rebates, and various other pertinent tax considerations.
5. Documents required
The agreement also clearly outlines the documents required for the divorce process. Some of the most important documents have been listed as follows:
Financial statements include credit cards, bank accounts, pensions, retirement, loans, etc.
Business account records
Every bill related to one’s children and home
Title as well as the deed to the house
6. Other issues
Other issues such as name change, child abuse, domestic violence, attorney fees, etc., are also covered by the agreement.
It is imperative to be very well-informed regarding the information covered under your marital settlement agreement. Negligence can lead to unfavorable consequences.
Marital settlement agreement: What happens after this agreement?
One of the main reasons courts strongly favors a marital settlement agreement over a full divorce trial in the court is the efficiency and time-saving benefits of an agreement. After both the parties involved sign the agreement, it is effective immediately.
Once you and your ex have signed the marital settlement agreement, you don’t have to wait for your divorce to get finalized to start following the conditions and terms of the agreement!
Divorce is difficult. But it’s important to be cautious and well-informed when navigating your way through the divorce process. Feel free to refer to the points mentioned above to have a comprehensive divorce separation agreement.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.