A marital settlement agreement lays out the terms and conditions of your separation. You and your spouse may agree on absolutely everything, making the entire divorce process go faster and smoother. Or, you may agree on a few things but still need to negotiate the rest. Either way, a marital settlement agreement is binding in San Diego divorce proceedings, so you need to make sure your rights are protected.

Terms of a Marital Settlement Agreement

To be valid, a marital settlement agreement must include certain terms. California courts even provide you with a template marital settlement agreement. You can create a marital settlement agreement using this template without the help of a lawyer, but it’s not recommended. You may inadvertently create a document that’s not binding or legally enforceable. 

If you go to the trouble of discussing how to split your marital assets and property with your spouse, you want to make sure you create an enforceable agreement.

In your marital settlement agreement, you’ll need to decide on how to divide up:

You’ll also need to address any alimony and child support, plus a parent plan for any of your minor children. While this seems simple on its face, you probably have hundreds of items that need to be split. Each of these requires thoughtful consideration. 

Community Property

California is a community property state. This means that all property acquired during the marriage is considered to be marital property. Any property acquired prior to the marriage is separate property. Marital property is subject to fair division between you and your spouse. Separate property could also include an inheritance received during your marriage, provided that the funds were always kept separate from any marital accounts.

The fact that California is a community property state can influence marital settlement agreements. Under California’s community property standard, every asset and debt must be divided equally when you get divorced. 

Benefits of a Marital Settlement Agreement

When you decide to get a divorce, you can reduce the costs of your divorce proceedings through a marital settlement agreement. Even if you and your spouse have some issues, a marital settlement agreement can still be negotiated through the use of family law attorneys. 

In either scenario, a settlement agreement encourages you both to work out the distribution of assets and liabilities. It forces both of you to look at everything you have and come to a reasonable decision on how to divide everything. 

But this exercise can also save you money. Even if you need to use lawyers to negotiate the terms and to review your marital settlement agreement — something you should absolutely do — you’ll spend less time in court. Not only will this save you money by reducing the time you spend in front of a judge, it will also give you better control of where items go. If a judge has to decide, they’ll simply split things down the middle with little consideration of what items you may have a special attachment to and want to keep. Negotiating your marital settlement agreement retains your control. 

Speak with a San Diego Family Law Attorney Today

If you’re considering a divorce and want to create a marital settlement agreement, you need to speak with an experienced family law attorney in San Diego. These documents are binding and could have an impact on your life, so you must make certain that your rights are protected.

Contact Our Divorce Law Firm in San Diego, CA

Contact our experienced San Diego divorce lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108