What Is A Marital Settlement Agreement?

Divorces are long, complicated and expensive affairs, prolonged when couples do not agree on how their assets should be divided and how child support and custody should be handled. In Maryland, couples that agree on these matters can file an uncontested divorce using a marital settlement agreement.

This document, also referred to as a marital separation agreement, outlines many of the decisions that are typically made during the divorce process. At the Law Office of Dontrice P. Hamilton, I can explain how these agreements work and help you determine if one might be appropriate for your situation.

What Does A Marital Settlement Agreement Entail?

A marital settlement agreement governs the asset division and support agreements common to most divorces, including:

  • The amount, frequency and duration of alimony payments
  • Custody and visitation rights
  • The amount, frequency, duration and preferred method of child support payments
  • Property division, including bank accounts, debts, real estate, personal property
  • Changes to life and health insurance policies
  • Tax liability designations for joint property

These agreements can also iron out whether a spouse will keep their married name.

How Do I Know If A Marital Settlement Agreement Is Right For Me?

If you and your spouse are not on speaking terms, a marital settlement agreement will not likely be the best option. Preparing these documents requires close collaboration between spouses. The couple must inventory their assets and work together to decide how they should be handled in a separation.

If you and your spouse do not own any community property, do not have any children and have incurred no joint debt, a marital settlement agreement may not be necessary in order to file a peaceful no-contest divorce.

How Can Having A Marital Settlement Agreement Help?

When filed properly, a marital settlement agreement is a legally binding document, similar to a prenuptial agreement. The terms cannot be modified after the divorce unless both parties agree to the changes. When filing for a contested divorce, spouses cannot be certain about whether their assets or children will be protected. A mutual agreement eliminates that uncertainty and allows couples to resolve their divorces quickly and without as much financial strain.

Get Professional Assistance For Your Marital Settlement Agreement

I have been helping Maryland families resolve complicated legal matters through negotiation for over a decade. At my office in Rockville, I can assist you and your spouse in drafting the agreement correctly and filing to ensure its legal authenticity.

Contact me by calling 301-960-5712 or by my online contact form.