A Brief Introduction About Property Settlement Agreement
A sample property settlement agreement or a separate and property settlement agreement is an official template that is legal. This official document is known to legally bind two individuals who are getting divorced as per the specific terms & conditions of the contract.
The main objective of the contract is to specify in writing how the respective debts and assets will be divided between the individuals after the separation. Property settlement agreement forms are state-specific. Therefore, the given terms & conditions of the contract might vary from one state to another. The divorce settlement agreement might also specify additional details like custody of children along with visitation details.
The clauses of the property settlement contract after a divorce are expected to comply with the respective divorce laws in the given state in which the divorce is taking place. Divorce settlement contracts are also required to be approved by the particular judge who is overseeing the given divorce. When you search for ‘what is a property settlement agreement,’ you will find that it is a legal document that aims at providing the stipulations of the contract in writing such that both the involved parties can understand the terms & conditions explicitly. The agreement is expected to be filed before the final judgment –before the finalization of the divorce.
Who Takes the Property Settlement Agreement?
A property settlement contract also goes by the name as ‘separation and property settlement agreement.’ Therefore, it is signed between two parties or individuals who are getting a divorce from each other on legal grounds. A property settlement agreement form is known to be used by a couple who are aware that they will be filing or might have already filed for a divorce. The contract’s terms & conditions are known to cover the distribution aspect of the assets like bank accounts, property, and debts of the couple. It is also known to provide suggestions for important aspects like child custody as well as spousal support in most cases.
Purpose of the Property Settlement Agreement
The main purpose of the marital settlement agreement is to ensure that the divorce proceedings are moving more quickly while reducing the total amount that is spent in the court. A property settlement contract is also known by various names like:
- Separation and property settlement agreement
- Separation agreement
- Mediated separation agreement
- Custody, support, & property agreement
- Collaborative settlement agreement
- MSA (Marital Settlement Agreement)
- PSA (Property Settlement Agreement)
A typical divorce property settlement agreement is used when you are getting a divorce. There is no denying the fact that divorce is a challenging phase in life. Therefore, the main purpose of the free property settlement agreement template is to make the overall process easier and faster. This is because the parties involved in the divorce can decide upon how they aim at agreeing to the respective assets, support, liabilities, and custody or visitation of children (minor) shared by the divorcing couple.
In case you have no marital property, no children, and no debts, then you would not require a marital settlement agreement. In this case, you can get a no-fault divorce right away. However, if you wish to offer some future governance of the relationship while providing additional evidence to the court about the details of your separation, it is required for you to possess a divorce settlement agreement. When you have the contract, it leaves no doubt about the fact that you have ended the marital relationship with your partner. It is recommended to have a duly written legal document, rather than trusting the verbal understandings.
Contents of the Property Settlement Agreement
Marital settlement agreements can be formed either before the marriage (referred to as the prenuptial agreement) or during your marriage (referred to as the post-nuptial agreement). When you are drafting the property settlement contract in case of a divorce, here are some of the important factors to include in the same:
- A title that identifies the document
- Specifying relevant information of the concerned spouses, the respective property settlement lawyers, minor children (if any), and any other individual who has been appointed for representing the best interests of the children
- A written statement for stating that the involved parties are entering into a divorce along with the reason for filing the divorce
- Identification of the property or assets needed to be split and how the same will be divided
- How the child custody (in case of having minor children) along with parenting or visitation time & child support will be looked after
- The amount of support from the spouse (if any) that will be made and the duration for which it will be paid
- The jurisdiction under which the divorce is taking place
- An in-depth explanation of how everything will be split with any vital details like special warranty deed and the date by which the separation should be completed
- A line for signature as well as the date for the parties involved along with the respective lawyers
How to Draft the Property Settlement Agreement?
When you are drafting the divorce settlement agreement, it is important to consult professional property settlement lawyers along with your spouse in the given contract. Some of the additional tips on writing the document are:
- Ensure that you are well-equipped with all the necessary details as well as the respective divorce forms as per the state divorce laws. You can also hire a divorce settlement lawyer to assist in drafting the contract.
- Make sure that you possess all the necessary personal information required for preparing the contract. You are also required to specify the date of your separation. List the main reason for the divorce. You are also required to add the contact details of the spouses along with that of the minor children.
- Include a written statement stating that you and the other party agree to the specific terms & conditions of the agreement.
- Make a detailed list of all the marital liabilities and assets and how you aim at dividing the same.
- Carefully discuss with your partner how you aim at achieving co-parenting, visitation, parenting time, child support, and custody of your children.
- Include spousal or alimony support if any. Remember that not every couple requires spousal or alimony support. If there is the payment of some alimony amount, you should state the same.
- Review the document properly before signing the same.
Some of the important points to keep in mind before negotiating on a divorce settlement agreement are:
- Understand your finances well beforehand
- Learn about your legal rights as well as responsibilities
- Know what exactly you need
- Know & analyze the needs of your spouse as well
- Evaluate your retirement plan
- Negotiate over the best health insurance coverage –for your children as well
Benefits & Drawbacks of the Property Settlement Agreement
When compared with the uncontested divorce agreement, some of the potential benefits of a marital settlement agreement are:
- It is easier to enter into a separation agreement. On the other hand, uncontested agreements can take some time –even several months.
- Marital settlement agreements are also known to get rid of some of the acrimony and confrontation that are usually associated with any typical court process.
- A separation agreement also turns out to be a cost-effective option in most cases.
- A separation contract is known to include any provision virtually that you would like to allow –providing ultimate flexibility with the given terms & conditions
- The property settlement lawyer would also suggest you the benefits of including specific terms in the contract.
As far as the drawbacks of this agreement are concerned, it sometimes becomes difficult to enforce the terms & conditions of the agreement. This is because it is a contract instead of being a bridal court order. It is recommended to discuss all possible options with your marital separation lawyer.
What Happens in Case of a Violation?
If anyone of the spouses fails to honor the terms & conditions of the agreement, it might result in legal penalties for the spouse who is violating the contract. A common ground for the violation of the contract occurs when one spouse tends to conceal the existence or true information about the assets from the other spouse. Another way in which the property settlement contracts can be violated is when one spouse gives false information to the other about the financial resources or assets.
As divorce tends to be a legal process, and property settlement contract tends to be legally binding, it is important to consider all possible aspects before entering into the same. If you are skeptical of doing it on your own, you can consider taking professional help from the reputed property settlement lawyers in the given jurisdiction.