A marital settlement agreement is a legally binding contract between two spouses that hopes to resolve disputes. They can draft a marital settlement agreement before or after they file for divorce. In Maryland, spouses can enter into a marital settlement agreement if they can peacefully find common ground on separation-related issues. It should target all the factors affected by the divorce, including the following:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Property division
It differs from a divorce agreement, but you can use the marital settlement agreement to help facilitate your divorce. If it can address and resolve all points of contestation, you can use your marital settlement agreement to expedite the divorce process.
A marital settlement agreement is an enforceable contract
You can file a marital settlement agreement with your spouse using the template provided by the state or by drafting your own. They can be a verbal agreement between spouses, but for the contract to be enforceable, it must be in writing and contain the signatures of the divorcing parties. The Maryland court will approve your agreement if the terms and conditions are reasonable and mutually beneficial. The judge will determine if the parties entered into the agreement without fraud or force.
Evaluate before you negotiate
Once a judge approves the marital settlement agreement, you may not easily change the terms. Although a change in circumstance may allow you to modify your alimony, custody and child support orders, the division of marital assets will remain. You should evaluate all your marital assets and thoroughly review all the legal terms and provisions of the contract. Negotiating a marital settlement agreement can be risky if you do not fully understand what you are agreeing to.