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Marriage Settlement Agreement

OBTAINING A MARRIAGE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

As part of your divorce case with us, you may want to have a legal marriage settlement agreement prepared by me. I can draw one up for an additional fee of just $450.00. The agreement would contain the terms you and your spouse have agreed to. This service is only available for individuals that already have agreed to the terms of their marriage settlement and simply need for those terms to be prepared in a legal and enforceable format. The agreement would be filed with the court and it would eventually be incorporated into the divorce decree. This would make it part of a court order and enforceable by the court’s contempt powers. You will need to contact me either by phone or email and let me know that you wish this additional service so that we can discuss your specific case and the process of getting it done.

An agreement is not required to get a divorce in Pennsylvania but if you have real estate, custody issues, child support issues, alimony or any other concerns about dividing property that you need to have settled in writing, it may be a smart thing to have a professionally prepared Marriage Settlement agreement to avoid problems in the future after a divorce is obtained. If you are going to require a Marriage Settlement Agreement in addition to the divorce service, I need to know about it before I file your divorce case with the court so that I can make sure that the divorce has the required legal language added to it which lets the court know that Marriage Settlement Agreement is going to be part of the case.

Questions and Answers about Marriage Settlement Agreements?

1. What is a Marriage Settlement Agreement?

2. Do I need to have a Marriage Settlement Agreement in my divorce?

3. Is my agreement enforceable if my ex-spouse violates its terms?

4. Can I get a divorce without settling issues of child support, child custody or visitation?

1. What is a Marriage Settlement Agreement?

A marital separation agreement, also known as a property settlement agreement or post nuptial agreement, is a written contract in which you and your spouse agree to how you are dividing your real property and personal property. In addition, it can contain your agreement with regard to the following issues:

  • Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
  • Child Custody and Visitation
  • Child Support Payments
  • Division of Debts
  • Health Insurance
  • Pension or Retirement Plan Division
  • Tax Issues

The agreement may explain rights you have and rights you are waiving (giving up) by signing the agreement. The marriage settlement agreement may be prepared and signed before or after you have filed for divorce, even if the two of you are still living together. It must be filed with the court before the entry of the divorce decree. The additional cost is $450.00. Please call our office to discuss including a Marriage Settlement Agreement as part of the divorce process.

2. Do I need to have a Marriage Settlement Agreement in my divorce?

If you do not have any marital property (such as real estate or pensions), no joint debts, and no children, you probably don’t need a marriage settlement agreement in addition to the divorce we are doing for you. There are situations where you want to have the security of an agreement to avoid future problems. You may also want evidence of a separation. An agreement leaves no doubt about the details of the termination of your marriage. It is better to have a clearly written agreement, than to depend on a verbal agreement.

3. Is my agreement enforceable if my ex-spouse violates its terms?

When the Agreement is incorporated into your divorce decree, it becomes a court order and is enforceable by the court’s contempt powers. You can enforce the agreement in any county of Pennsylvania and any court in the United States under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution. In plain English, what that means is that a Marriage Settlement Agreement from Pennsylvania can be enforced in any court of the United States.

4. Can I get a divorce without settling issues of child support, child custody or visitation?

The simple answer is yes, but it is better to have these issues settled through a marriage settlement Agreement before the divorce. After your divorce, you can still work out child support issues with the Domestic Relations Section in the county where you live. You can also file a child custody action in your local county courthouse to settle issues of custody and visitation. You would need to retain a local attorney for this. By agreeing to a support amount and custody or visitation issues and having them as part of your Marriage Settlement Agreement, you will save significant money in fees and costs associated with additional litigation.