Benefits of Reaching A Marital Agreement Before Going To Court
Whether you are going through an amicable divorce, where you and your soon to be former spouse are on fairly good terms, or in more contested divorce cases where you communicate primarily through your divorce attorney, there are important issues related to marital property, spousal support, and children that must be dealt with. Rather than having a judge decided these matters for you in court hearings, there are benefits to working out a marital settlement agreement. In addition to saving you time and money, it can give you a greater sense of control over the outcome of your case.
Marital Settlement Agreements
Marriage is a relationship that entails working together as a team and, as with any partnership, disentangling this relationship can get complicated. Depending on the length of your marriage and the circumstances involved, you may have created a family together while accumulating a significant amount of property and assets.
During your divorce, a judge will make determinations on matters affecting children and the division of money, property, and assets, based on guidelines provided under Florida divorce laws. As an alternative to a judge making these determinations based on information provided through financial affidavits and court testimony, increasing numbers of couples are relying on marital settlement agreements instead. These agreements allow you to set the terms as to the following:
- Distribution of marital property, including financial accounts, homes, cars, furnishings, and other items accumulated during your marriage;
- Provisions for pension and retirement benefits and life or health insurance to be provided for either of the spouses after the divorce;
- Spousal support and alimony payments, which a spouse may be entitled to on either a temporary or permanent basis;
- Parenting plans and timesharing arrangements for any minor children;
- Provisions for financial support of children and legal responsibility for making decisions on their behalf.
Benefits of Marital Settlement Agreements
While any of the above can be decided by a judge as part of your divorce case, it often requires the filing of numerous documents and attendance at multiple hearings with your attorney, which can be both time consuming and expensive. In contrast, a marital settlement agreement drafted under the Florida Court guidelines allows you to mutually agree on important terms prior to getting your divorce. In addition to being a less expensive, more efficient option, the benefits of having a marital settlement agreement include:
- Allows you to settle matters privately, in meetings attended by only you, your spouse, and your attorneys;
- Gives you greater control and the chance to personalize agreements rather than relying on standard court guidelines;
- Provides security in knowing what is agreed on before going to court, rather than waiting to hear what a judge decides;
- Lays a positive groundwork for any future dealings, agreements, or negotiations you may need to make with your former spouse once your divorce is finalized.
To determine if a marital settlement agreement might be in your best interests, call or contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC online today. We can arrange a free, no obligation consultation with our Florida divorce attorney in our Fort Lauderdale office to discuss the options available in your situation.