Is a marital settlement agreement binding prior to the finalization of your divorce? A “Marital Settlement Agreement” is a document which stipulates the agreement between the two spouses regarding all elements of their divorce. This usually includes the division of assets and debts as well as terms including but not limited to:
- child custody and parenting time
- child support
- spousal support
- retirement accounts
- Division of community assets and even the disposition of the family home
- Business or professional practice valuation and division
A marital settlement agreement is a contract between the parties which becomes incorporated into the Judge’s ultimate orders in their divorce case. It can be enforced in the same manner as any other contract. Therefore, what makes a marital settlement agreement binding prior to the finalization of your divorce is when the agreement is duly signed. If one of the parties wishes to break the agreement after its signature and prior to the stipulated orders of the divorce court, the other party can pursue the matter as a “breach of contract.”
There may be a few exceptions to this, especially if one or more of the terms in the Marital Settlement Agreement are considered to be unconscionable, or unenforceable according to California law. In that case the Courts will usually uphold the rest of the agreement and simply address questions relating to that portion which cannot be legally enforced.
Marital settlement agreements are often the result of mediation, or the effective negotiations of the parties supported by their attorneys. The experience and skill of your divorce attorney will make a substantial difference in the quality of your marital settlement agreement and the accomplishment of your goals.
If you are considering a divorce in North County or Carlsbad we invite you to contact Burke & Domercq or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment with one of our Certified Family Law Specialists. We have decades of experience in the local North County and San Diego Family Courts and this informs the insight and recommendations we share with our clients.
What makes a marital settlement agreement binding prior to the finalization of your divorce? If you sign a marital settlement agreement it is in your best interests to follow it to the letter unless and until you receive the advice of counsel.