The Details That Make Or Break Your Marital Settlement Agreement
Signing a marital settlement agreement (MSA) feels like a victory. It means that you are ready for the court to finalize your divorce, and that you were able to resolve matters of property division without going to trial. The MSA only deals with financial matters, so if you and your spouse have minor children, you must also finalize a parenting plan, but this is a separate document; many couples with minor children are able to avoid trial by finalizing both the MSA and the parenting plan. The terms of your MSA are up to you and your spouse; the judge will sign the MSA into a court order of dissolution of marriage as long as the parties do not agree to anything that is obviously illegal. If you are too hasty or too accommodating of your ex-spouse’s wishes when drafting your MSA, you could be stuck with a legally binding agreement that is unfavorable to you. The best way to avoid mistakes with your marital settlement agreement or to resolve disputes arising from an existing MSA is to contact an Alabama divorce lawyer.
What Can Go Wrong With a Marital Settlement Agreement?
The marital settlement agreement divides the couple’s marital property and marital debts. Most couples can finalize their MSA in mediation without going to trial because there is no ambiguity about which property is marital, and because it is obvious to both of them which spouse (if either) should keep the marital home and whether one spouse needs alimony. In the simplest cases, mediation is just for fine tuning the details about property division.
A mistake that some couples make is being excessively vague in their MSA in an effort to get through mediation and finalize their divorce as quickly as possible. It is also a mistake to agree to your spouse’s demands even if they would put you in a bad financial position, just so you can avoid conflict.
If you forgot to account for a marital asset or debt in your MSA, and you and your ex-spouse later disagree about it, the only way to resolve it will be to go back to court and have a judge decide. This requires more money and stress than if you had been more diligent about the MSA from the beginning. If you are unhappy with the MSA once the judge has signed off on it, if you go back to court, the judge will say, “Tough luck. You entered into this legally binding agreement willingly.”
Divorce Mediation Is Your Lawyer’s Big Moment
The best way to avoid going to trial is to hire a divorce lawyer to represent you in divorce mediation. A judge will not carefully review the MSA and go over all the “what ifs” before you sign, but your lawyer will.
Contact Peeples Law About Marital Settlement Agreements
A Birmingham family law attorney can help you persevere through the stress of mediation to get a satisfactory MSA. Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.