Legal

Why A Marital Settlement Agreement Instead of Trial: Legal Reasons #20

 

imagesRecently. I received several calls about a MSA (Marital Settlement AGreement) where one party wanted them to just orally agree while the other wanted down on paper. The partner did not want an attorney drafting the MSA, but old adage “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish” came to mind because oral agreements with former partners that are not drafted are fraught with

 

A marital separation agreement, also known as a property settlement agreement, is a written contract dividing your property, spelling out your rights, and settling problems such as alimony and custody. A marital separation agreement may be drawn before or after you have filed for divorce — even while you and your spouse are still living together.

When and if you begin the divorce proceedings, you will attach the separation agreement to your divorce papers and ask the court to merge, but not incorporate, the agreement into the final judicial decree.  If the marital separation agreement is incorporated into the decree, it becomes a court order and is enforceable by the court.  If you don’t incorporate the separation agreement into your decree, it simply becomes a contract or agreement between you and your spouse.

If you want to provide for the future governance of your relationship, as well as provide additional evidence to the court about the day that you separated, you should have a Marital Settlement Agreement. An agreement leaves no doubt about the details of the ending of your marriage relationship. It is better to have a clearly written agreement, rather than rely on verbal understandings.

In a community property” state, like California, all property acquired during the marriage is “marital property” and all property owned before the marriage is “non-marital” property. Gifts or inheritances to either spouse during the marriage is non-marital property.

 

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