A marriage settlement agreement is a written agreement between divorcing couples detailing their mutual agreement on the terms of their divorce.
The vast majority of divorces are able to be settled without a trial, and most courts will encourage, possibly even order the couple to attempt an agreement through such means as negotiation or mediation. Once reached, the agreement can then be reviewed by the court for fairness and either merged with or incorporated into the divorce decree.
The marriage settlement agreement can be used to spell out a vast variety of matters and can be customized for each divorcing couple. Common points addressed by the agreement might include:
- Division of property, which could include such items as land, homes or other buildings, vehicles including such items as boats and snowmobiles, financial assets such as bank accounts and life insurance, and even items such as frequent flyer miles or where Fido will live.
- Spousal support, not only how much, but what that amount will be based on, such as a percentage of payor or payee income. Other points to consider are how long support will be paid, what are the tax implications and how alimony will be terminated.
- Child custody, including sole legal or shared, parenting time, holiday schedules, or where the children will go to school.
- Child support, with consideration for base support, health insurance, and other medical costs, tuition, or daycare. Tax implications and when child support will end are also important factors to incorporate into the agreement.
- Allocation of debt, at is each individuals’ share of marital debt and how this debt will be paid. It is important to note that the marriage settlement agreement cannot bind a third-party, such as a bank, to the agreement.
- Tax issues, Beyond spousal or child support implications, tax matters to be agreed upon may include filing status, dependency exemptions, or even what will be done with a refund.
A marriage settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement that should no be taken lightly. Any binding agreement should be reviewed by a qualified attorney before being signed and entered into. One of our experienced attorneys at Hoover Krepelka can help you draft an agreement that is in your best interest. For a free consultation regarding your individual situation, contact us by calling (408) 389-7099 to speak with one of our attorneys.