Marital Settlement Agreements

It is critical in a divorce proceeding that each spouse retain separate Florida family lawyers to draft and review their marital settlement agreements. One attorney cannot ethically, nor effectively, promote both parties’ interests.

Petition for Divorce Photograph

A marital and property settlement agreement deals not only with the division of marital assets and liabilities, but also with issues related to children, spousal and child support, attorney fees, and other specific details individual to your situation. If you and your partner own any business, real estate, stocks or other investments together, these detailed issues will also be included.

Marital and property settlement agreements can resolve all or part of the issues raised in your divorce case. Each party will be expected to review the document with his or her lawyer and then sign the papers to indicate agreement to the terms set forth in the document.

The specific content of each settlement agreement varies based upon each individual couple’s needs. If you and your partner were only married a short time and had limited shared assets, with no children, the agreement may be rather short. On the other hand, if you have a complex financial estate, the document will be quite lengthy and detailed.

In general, settlement agreements contain:

  • The identity of both parties and a summary of the relevant facts.
  • The identification of all assets and property, including the proposed post-dissolution distribution of the property.
  • Information on the amounts and payment schedules for debts, including refinancing and/or indemnification language.
  • Parenting plans, including the rights and responsibilities of each parent and parenting schedules.
  • Child support information, including responsibility for health insurance, child care and uninsured medical expenses.
  • Spousal support agreements or a waiver of spousal support.
  • The expenses of both parties’ attorney and litigation costs.
  • Waivers of rights.
  • Additional documents detailing complex legal matters.
The attorneys at The Office of Linda A. Bailey work passionately toward solutions that help clients reach resolutions in the most professional manner possible.

Settlement Agreements. Florida marital settlement agreements are contracts that are enforceable by contract law and by the divorce court. The agreements are rarely set aside, but may be in the event the agreement was signed under conditions of fraud, deceit, duress, coercion or misrepresentation. An agreement also may be set aside if full and fair disclosure of the assets and liabilities of each spouse was not present at the time of the agreement and a waiver of the disclosure was not included in the agreement. However, this is very difficult to do; the burden of proof is very high. Lack of an attorney during the negotiation process will not usually support setting aside an agreement.

In Florida, as in most states, settlement agreements are interpreted using the law in existence at the time of signing the agreement. Changes to Florida law generally are not applicable to the terms of settlement agreements after they are signed, unless the law is intended to apply retroactively.

In certain circumstances, a settlement agreement can be modified. See the section for modifications in this web-site. However, the court cannot modify property provisions, except in the most rare fact patterns. Be careful that you sign an agreement with which you are satisfied. Ensure that you have competent counsel review any agreement prior to signing, to prevent you from making irreversible mistakes that may not be apparent on the face of the document.

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