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What is a Settlement Agreement in a Divorce?

When hearing about a family member, friend, or celebrity go through the divorce process, you may come across the term “marital settlement agreement.” What is this and is it required?

A marital settlement agreement, also known as a Stipulation of Settlement, is required in New York when a couple decides to go through an uncontested divorce and they have marital assets. This document spells out the terms of the divorce and how all property is to be divided.

A marital settlement agreement has many advantages, as it helps move along the divorce process. Typically, no trial is required, which makes the divorce less costly and time-consuming. It also lays out every issue in writing, so there is no uncertainty.

What is Included in a Marital Settlement Agreement?

A marital settlement agreement contains everything that is important to you. This includes all your assets, obligations, rights, and future needs. If you have children, this document will include details about child custody and visitation. It should also include details about paying for major expenses such as medical or dental care and college.

Marital settlement agreements also include property division. This includes everything you and your spouse own together, such as homes, properties, vehicles, jewelry, artwork, furniture, antiques, electronics and recreation vehicles. It also includes joint bank accounts, investments, and retirement accounts.

Marital settlement agreements will also contain details about alimony and debts such as personal loans, mortgages, vehicle loans, and credit card debt. If you have pets or other assets that are of importance, you should include them in the agreement, as well. The more comprehensive, the better.

An agreement, however, cannot omit or limit one’s obligation to pay child support. Child support is required by New York law. You also cannot use the agreement to commit fraud. All assets and debts must be disclosed in a divorce. If they are intentionally left out, the marital settlement agreement will be deemed invalid.

When you and your spouse decide to go through an uncontested divorce, you are making the process easier, and that is important. Divorce is a stressful process, so the less stress you can cause, the better. A marital settlement agreement allows you and your spouse to work together and negotiate on marital property, debts, and other aspects of the marriage.

A marital settlement agreement is a binding legal document. You must abide by it. If you do not agree to it, do not sign it. Instead, ask to take the divorce to trial before a judge.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer Today

A divorce is a stressful situation. It involves legal implications, and a mistake can cost a person dearly. A marital settlement agreement can help reduce stress and facilitate the process, but it must be done right.

If you are seeking a divorce in New York, seek legal help from Brooklyn divorce attorney Theodore Alatsas ESQ. He can assist you with the process and help you achieve a favorable outcome. Call his office at (718) 233-2903 to schedule a free consultation today.