Separating or Considering Separation?
Consider a Separation Agreement Established by a Minneapolis and St. Paul Family Attorney
A marital settlement agreement, also known as a property settlement agreement, is an agreement that divides the marital estate of a couple. You can use a settlement agreement in an uncontested divorce or legal separation. A qualified St. Paul and Minneapolis family lawyer will help draft a settlement agreement for either situation.
There are three ways to use a settlement agreement:
- A partial marital settlement agreement is used when the parties come to a partial settlement, whether through arbitration or working things out on their own.
- A martial settlement agreement is a full agreement entered into by the parties because of arbitration or as a result of settling their differences on their own.
- A legal separation divorces the parties from bed and board but leaves them legally married.
Settlement Agreement Coverage
A settlement agreement used for an uncontested divorce or a legal separation covers every factor of the marital estate. A partial settlement agreement can cover as little as one issue to most of the issues involved in a divorce. A settlement agreement for purposes of an uncontested divorce and partial settlement agreements are incorporated into the Final Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage.
- Children: If there are minor children, a settlement agreement will dictate primary and secondary custody, visitation and child support issues. It often contains a visitation schedule, including holidays.
- Assets: Assets are divided via equitable distribution, unless the parties come to their own agreement regarding assets. A settlement agreement outlines the distribution of the assets. If there are titles or deeds involved, it has a clause stating that the deed must be signed over to the appropriate party.
- Liabilities: Liabilities are also divided via equitable distribution. If an asset has a liability attached to it, such as the marital home, the party taking the marital home usually takes on the underlying liability (the mortgage). Credit cards are usually equitably divided. The settlement agreement states that the party taking the liability must refinance the liability into his or her own name within a specific amount of time.
- Spousal maintenance: Spousal maintenance is awarded based on many different factors. If the parties agree to no spousal maintenance or agree to an amount, that is included in a settlement agreement. A qualified Minneapolis family lawyer can advise you of your rights regarding spousal maintenance prior to the signing of a settlement agreement.
- Insurance: Life, dental and health insurance issues are included in a settlement agreement. While a party is not expected to provide insurance for his or her spouse, he or she may be expected to provide health and dental insurance for the minor children. Often, the party paying child support and/or spousal maintenance is required to have a life insurance policy with his or her spouse and children as the beneficiaries to cover the amount being paid should something happen to the paying spouse.
- Taxes: When parties separate or divorce, it is generally understood that each party pays his or her own taxes. The divorce tax section dictates payment of taxes. If the parties are divorced or separated in the middle of the year, it will tell the parties whether to file jointly or individually for that last year and how the resulting refund or payment should be divided. The divorce tax section also outlines who may claim the dependants until the dependants become emancipated.
- Retirement benefits: Retirement benefits may be contained in the assets section of the agreement, or they may have their own section. This section dictates how the retirement benefits shall be divided and whether each party is keeping his or her own retirement benefits. There are ramifications and consequences of splitting retirement accounts. Steven H. Snyder & Associates can advise you of your rights regarding retirement accounts.
Contact a qualified Minneapolis and St. Paul family attorney today for assistance.