Marital Settlement Agreements
Marital settlement agreements are very important in any divorce case no matter what County in the State of Florida. Divorce cases are not like a typical civil lawsuit there are special statutes that govern family and divorce proceedings. In a civil lawsuit a settlement agreement typically relates to money. Marital settlement agreements however encompass every aspect of a divorce case. MSA’s may include partial agreements if every issue cannot be agreed upon. A complete marital settlement agreement or MSA will include the agreement of the parties on property division, division of liabilities, division of assets, child custody, time sharing, parental responsibility, and child support.
If the parties are in agreement from the time they decide to divorce the divorce can be completed rather quickly through the use of martial settlement agreement and uncontested divorce procedures.
Having control over the outcome of your case is very important.
In Orlando and around Central Florida having experienced attorney to guide and help you go through each of the terms contained of the marital settlement agreement is very important. At the final hearing where the divorce decree is signed off on by the presiding the marital settlement agreement will be incorporated as an exhibit. Therefore any violation of the marital settlement agreement is enforceable through the Court and can lead to contempt of court charges should the violation rise to the level of direct criminal contempt.
The main purpose of a marital settlement agreement is to resolve the case short of a final hearing. Mediation is mandatory and many times the mediator will draft the marital settlement agreement once all issues are discussed and agreed upon. Depending on the complexity of the case the MSA may be 2-3 pages or 20 pages.
Emotions Run High in Court and Mediation. Family Law is complicated. Decisions can affect the lives of your children for years to come.
When Attorney Joe Knape discusses settlement of a dissolution or family law case with his clients he believes it is best to break down the issues into categories and address them one by one. In many cases the child issues are very emotional which can cause the property issues to become blurred. Having an Attorney that can maintain emotional perspective and educating the client about the law in Florida is essential. Even Judges become emotional and sympathetic to one party or a particular situation not agreeing on simple terms in a proposed MSA could lead the Judge to be more challenging and difficult. Judges perspective on a particular issue or fact may not be the same as yours or your soon to be ex-spouses and at final hearing a Judge may award attorney’s fees to a party that presented most prepared and simplistic argument leaving emotion outside the courtroom walls. In my opinion it’s almost always better to settle things through a marital settlement agreement rather than leave the decisions up to a Judge at a final hearing.