Is a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) Right for Your Florida Divorce?
Contrary to popular belief, ending a marriage is not always a lengthy, costly, and adversarial process. While these divorces are not uncommon, you may be able to resolve your divorce case quickly and reduce the cost of the process if you opt for a marital settlement agreement (MSA).
A marital settlement agreement can be both cost-efficient and less stressful than traditional divorce litigation. An MSA can be created when the parties file a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, and they agree on all of the issues at hand.
How to Create a Marital Settlement Agreement in Florida?
In order to sign a marital settlement agreement in your uncontested divorce case in Florida, you and your spouse will need to agree on all issues, including but not limited to:
- Child custody and time-sharing
- Child support
- Division of assets and debts
When the parties agree on all of these issues, they can proceed with filling out the marital settlement agreement form and then filing it with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the petition was filed.
What Does a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) Contain?
A marital settlement agreement is designed to speed up the divorce proceedings. However, not all couples can benefit from creating an MSA because it requires both partners to cooperate and find a compromise with guidance from their attorneys. A marital settlement agreement is a valid and enforceable contract signed between two parties. The agreement can address the following:
- Payments of child support and alimony (spousal support);
- How marital assets and debts will be divided between the parties; and
- Child custody and time-sharing agreements.
In order to make sure that you reach the most favorable outcome possible when settling the above-mentioned issues, your divorce lawyer will explain your legal rights under the Florida Statutes Section 61.075 (equitable distribution of marital assets and liability), Section 61.08 (alimony), and other applicable statutes.
When the parties are not able to reach a consensus on one or more issues to create a marital settlement agreement, their case may proceed to court, where the disputed issues will be decided by a judge. However, divorce litigation is a lengthy and expensive process, not to mention that going to court can lead to an unpredictable outcome.
When Creating a Marital Settlement Agreement is Right for You
Yes, creating a marital settlement agreement offers many benefits for all parties involved. However, signing an MSA is not for everyone, as your attempts to find a middle ground may end up being futile. So, how can you tell if creating a marital settlement agreement is right for you?
Generally, you can tell if opting for a marital settlement agreement is right for your Florida divorce if all of the following is true:
- You and your spouse are capable of working together and maintaining respectful and constructive communication;
- Both parties can put their differences aside to resolve issues;
- Both parties are capable of resolving issues quickly and efficiently; and
- You are represented by an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through the complicated process of creating a marital settlement agreement.
Contact our Orlando divorce attorneys at Greater Orlando Family Law to schedule a free initial consultation. Let our family lawyers review your particular case and determine whether creating a marital settlement agreement is right for you. Call at t 407-377-6399 for a case review.