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Separating from your spouse isn’t easy. The emotional impact can be hard enough as it is, and litigation can be stressful and costly. Fortunately, there is a solution for those looking to avoid the strain of litigation: a lawyer to help you achieve a settlement agreement.
A Marital Settlement Agreement can take care of all issues caused by a separation and help you pursue an uncontested divorce in the future. At Andalman & Flynn, we have years of experience in all aspects of family law and are committed to helping you resolve your marital issues for a better future.
For legal assistance with property settlements in the Silver Spring or Baltimore area, contact us today.
Marital Settlement Agreements
In Maryland, a Marital Settlement Agreement can resolve all issues between divorcing or separating spouses, including:
- Property Division
- Division of Debts
- Health Insurance
- Disposition of the Marital Home
- Pension Plans
- Tax Issues
- Future Dispute Settlement
- Child Custody
- Child Support
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
What Is a Marital Separation & Property Settlement Agreement?
A Marital Separation Agreement, also known as a property settlement agreement, is a written contract between you and your spouse dividing your property, spelling out your rights, and settling problems you have with each other. The agreements are a way for the spouses to reach a resolution without court interference. In Maryland, if you have a Marital Settlement Agreement, your divorce pleadings will be simpler, and it will be clear to the court that you have an uncontested divorce.
What Is a Child Custody & Support Agreement?
A child custody and child support agreement can also be incorporated into a Marital Settlement Agreement and allows for the parties to decide what is best for their children without a judge. The agreement can also stand alone if the parents are not married. It can be reached before one parent moves out of the home or after litigation has ensued; it all depends on when, or if, the parties want to reach an agreement. Having children together, whether married or not, binds parents together for the remainder of their lives and reaching an agreement on these issues can help you successfully co-parent in the future.
When Can a Marital Settlement Agreement Be Executed?
In Maryland, a marital settlement agreement can be executed at the following times:
- Before the parties separate and while still residing together
- After the parties separate, before a divorce action is filed
- After one or both spouses have filed for divorce
The benefit of executing an agreement before filing in court is that it allows the parties to negotiate without incurring litigation expenses, saving you both money.
Why Is a Marital Settlement Agreement Important?
Entering into a Marital Settlement Agreement allows the parties to save money by not having to enter into formal litigation, which includes discovery (a very costly and timely aspect of litigation) to:
- Establish how you will resolve future disputes together and provide for the future governance of your relationship
- Have a clearly defined contract that leaves no doubt about the details of ending your marital relationship
- Allow for the parties to have clear boundaries and assist each of you in lessening the emotional feelings that may be holding you back
What Should be Included in a Marital Settlement Agreement?
Your divorce settlement agreement should include details about everything that is important to you, such as custody of your children, child support payments, alimony, and explanations about the separation of your property and home assets.
Do I Have to File a Marital Settlement Agreement with the Court?
You do not have to file your Marital Settlement Agreement with the court to be effective. However, if you get divorced, you should have the agreement “incorporated, but not merged” into the divorce decree so that any future disputes can be heard and decided by the court. “Incorporated but not merged” means the agreement serves as an independent contract and either party can sue in another court (such as small claims court) to enforce a provision. Yet by the agreement being “merged” into the divorce decree, a spouse can also seek contempt if enforcement becomes necessary.
Do the Courts Review the Fairness of a Marital Property Settlement Agreement in Maryland?
In an uncontested divorce, the court nearly always approves the agreement of the parties if it is generally fair and if the court believes that property settlements were entered into by both spouses without fraud or coercion. If child support is involved, the court will consider the child support guidelines and ensure that the payment of child support is incorporated into the final order.
Negotiating a Marital Settlement Agreement in Maryland
In negotiating your Marital Settlement Agreement in Maryland, you should have legal representation to ensure you are entering into a legally binding agreement and that your interests are protected. Also, you should be given advice on how a court is likely to divide your property, award child custody and support, handle your retirement benefits, and deal with other issues.
If you live in the Montgomery County area, the attorneys at Andalman & Flynn will be happy to offer you the advice you need for property settlements in Maryland, drawing upon years of experience in family law to help you achieve your goals. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation!