If you are facing a separation or divorce, you may wonder how a marital settlement agreement can benefit you. This article covers everything from signing the contract to enforcing its terms. There is also information on how to modify the deal. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the terms of your marital settlement agreement and use it to your advantage. But first, what exactly is a marital settlement agreement?
Understanding the terms of a marital settlement agreement
Before you sign a marital settlement agreement, it’s essential to understand how it is written. Many agreements are oral, hitting the major points of a settlement. For example, a verbal agreement might state that Spouse A will stay in the marital home and have weekly visitation time with the children. However, it doesn’t specify what happens if either spouse misses a parenting time appointment. If you feel the terms of a settlement agreement aren’t fair to you or your ex-spouse, you should seek legal representation.
In a traditional litigated divorce, both parties must agree on property division, child custody, alimony, and other vital issues. Using a marital settlement agreement Tampa allows you to reach a mutually agreeable resolution without depending on a judge. It also allows you to negotiate the terms of the contract instead of relying on a court’s ruling. Even if you’re in a hurry to decide, you can always hire an attorney to review the draft.
Signing the agreement
Signing the Marital Settlement Agreement is a legal agreement stipulating all financial issues related to a divorce. However, despite its legal status, it does not have the force of law until the court approves it. If either party violates the agreement, severe penalties can follow. A divorce attorney in Chicago can help you with this legal process. However, before signing the settlement agreement, check that the other party has life insurance coverage and is up to date on theirs.
The marital settlement agreement should contain details to aid in execution. These details generally restatement general contract law principles, including non-modifiability, the performance of other documents, the mutual release of liability, and captions. These concepts serve as a reminder that the marital settlement agreement is, in essence, a contract. Therefore, to avoid disputes and ensure its legality, it is vital to have the agreement executed by an attorney.
Enforcing the agreement
There are many aspects to enforcing a marital settlement agreement, including the specific clauses and the applicable law. To begin, you must examine the terms of the contract to determine if they conflict with the law. If your husband violated the terms of the agreement, you might be able to use civil contempt to enforce them. In Florida, a civil contempt statute for marital settlement agreements is incorporated. For unmerged agreements, the statute does not apply. Before signing any agreement, you should understand your rights and obligations.
The court will usually enforce a marital settlement agreement when a breach occurs. In the state of Texas, the state requires the breaching party to pay the non-breaching party’s counsel fees. An agreement must contain:
- Provisions that address tax issues.
- Future participation in mediation.
- The involvement of a parent coordinator.
In some cases, the courts require a breaching party to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees.
Modifying the agreement
Several reasons one or both parties should consider modifying the marital settlement agreement. One reason is a change in circumstance. For example, an increase in private school tuition or daycare expenses may have created a hardship for one parent. Another reason is a change in living arrangements for the non-custodial parent. In either case, it’s essential to file a modification petition with the court as soon as possible. An attorney can advise the parties on the proper process for amending the marital settlement agreement.
The easiest way to modify the divorce document is by the agreement of both parties. However, in some cases, a spouse might not agree to make any changes, and the petitioner may not be able to change it on her own. It is important to note that the divorce law strikes the right balance between firmness and flexibility when granting a modification. A spouse whose wishes do not align with those in the divorce agreement may be able to seek damages or monetary compensation.