The Marital Settlement Agreement


After you and your spouse have negotiated alimony, child custody and visitation, support, and dividing your assets and debts, you will need to present all those decisions in one document. The Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA), sometimes called a Marital Separation Agreement, simply reduces to writing what you and your spouse have agreed upon.  Once you and your spouse execute a Marital Settlement Agreement your divorce becomes an uncontested divorce. Onbce you divorce is uncontesed it is relatively easy to file the divorce forms to secure your final divorce decree.

This is what the court will look at for direction when issuing a final judgment or decree. In many states, your agreement may actually be adopted into the proceedings by the court; in other words, the judge will incorporate the settlement agreement into the judgment or decree. Therefore, take care and make sure that your settlement agreement reflects exactly what you want and what you agreed upon with your spouse. 

It must be remembered that for the agreement to be approved by the court, the court must agree that the interests of the minor children are properly protected in terms of custody, visitation, and support.

The court must also believe the agreement is basically fair and that neither party used fraud, coercion, or threat in reaching the agreement. 

No two agreements are identical, of course, nor does the agreement have to be complex. If you have considerable property or lack confidence that you can adequately prepare your own agreement, you may want to have a lawyer handle this part of the divorce.  

You will note there are several additional marital settlement provisions that may be included in the agreement:

        How you and your spouse will handle the filing of tax returns for the current year (singly or jointly).

        Whether child support will include summer camp, day care, private school, or college.

        Who will be responsible for medical insurance coverage.

        Whether the wife wishes to�and can�resume her maiden name.

        What the children's surname shall continue to be.

        Which spouse may claim the federal dependency tax exemption for the minor children.

        That the agreement shall survive the divorce and be enforceable in any court of jurisdiction.

        That both spouses agree to the terms of the agreement.

        That the financial statements are accurate.

        That both spouses acknowledge rights to independent counsel.

        That both spouses will sign all documents and undertake all acts contemplated under the agreement.

        That the agreement shall be binding upon personal representatives.

All of these provisions are included in the Marital Separation Agreement that you can purchase from this Web Site.

Also see this Web Site: