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A Tampa Divorce Lawyer Can Help You With Your Marital Settlement Agreement
Advice you need now from The Coleman Law Group
There are many attorneys in Florida but to draft a Martial Settlement Agreement, you will need the services of lawyers specializing in family law. Consult with a Tampa divorce lawyer if you are located in Pinellas County or Tampa Bay and you want to prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement.
Marital Settlement Agreement
A marital settlement agreement (sometimes shortened to "MSA") is the document that spells out everything you and your spouse agree to regarding property, custody, and support. It describes:
- how you intend to divide your property and debts
- your agreements about child and spousal support
- how you will share parenting responsibilities, and how you will deal with any issues that come up relating to raising your children, and
- how you will deal with any conflicts that arise later. Commonly, these agreements contain a lot of detail. For example, yours might set out whether support will be paid by check or by automatic transfer and how you'll choose the real estate agent who will list your house. Once you've finalized your MSA, you submit it to the judge, who approves it and makes it part of your final divorce order. Because the agreement has the force of a court order, both parties are likely to comply with its terms, which gives everyone some degree of confidence about the future. A Clearwater divorce lawyer can help you draft a valid MSA.
Creating the Agreement
To create a marital settlement agreement, you and your spouse must make hard decisions about your property and your children. There are many issues to consider and negotiate. To make sure that your agreement addresses everything it should, refer to the checklist below. You may not need to include every single item in the agreement itself-for example, if neither of you changed your name when you married, you need not include a section about returning to your old name. But you should touch on all of them in the negotiations, if only for the purpose of confirming they don't apply to you. When you've covered everything, your agreements must be put in a final document. A Tampa divorce lawyer will prepare the settlement agreement for you.
Negotiating with your spouse and putting together an agreement will take time, so be patient and put the priority on doing it right, not doing it quickly.
You've probably worked hard to get to the point where you're preparing a settlement agreement, and you don't want to end up in court fighting about it later. Disputes could arise about just about anything, including one parent wanting a change in the visitation schedule or support. Include a simple agreement that if you have a problem with the terms later, you'll mediate. Try to agree on a mediator in advance, or to a person who'll break a tie between you if you can't agree.
There are a few important provisions that should be in every legal agreement to help avoid confusion later. Lawyers call this standard language "boilerplate." For example, it's important to agree that you've both made full disclosure of all the required information about your finances. You should confirm that the written agreement you've made is the only one you have, that there aren't any side agreements that contradict what you've written, and that you intend the agreement to be incorporated into your final divorce order. This last provision is critically important.
You should also say what state law you'll use if you end up in court over your agreement. If one person moves away later and you don't have this provision, you could end up fighting about where you're going to fight. Making sure you have all the required standard language is one of the reasons that it's a good idea to have a Clearwater divorce lawyer review your agreement.
When you've done everything you can do to prepare a draft MSA, it's time to take it to a lawyer for review. You don't absolutely have to do this-if you do your paperwork correctly, a judge will approve your divorce without checking to see whether a lawyer's been involved. but it's highly recommended, because your MSA controls everything involved in your divorce and can have an enormous impact on your future. it's time and money well spent. If you are located in the Tampa area, a Tampa divorce lawyer or St. Petersburg divorce lawyer is your best source of advice.
Phone The Coleman Law Group Today at 727-214-0400
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