Marital Settlement Agreements Attorney for Your California Divorce
The last thing most divorcing couples want is to take the matter all the way to trial. Trials are time-consuming, complex, emotionally draining, and expensive. While the seasoned California divorce attorneys at Blaser Law are more than prepared to take your case to trial where necessary, it is typically better for all parties involved to settle the case on mutually agreeable terms. Divorcing couples looking to streamline the divorce process can seek to execute a marital settlement agreement rather than submitting their case to a judge to decide at trial.
The dedicated marital settlement agreement lawyers at Blasser Law know that, more than anything, divorcing parties just want the process to come to a swift and advantageous conclusion. We will advocate and negotiate on your behalf, protecting the assets you value most, preserving your relationship with your children, and working to ensure that you obtain a settlement that gets you what you need without sacrificing the assets and rights that matter to you. If a reasonable settlement is possible, our seasoned divorce lawyers will get you there. If a comprehensive settlement is impossible, we will fight for your rights in court over whatever issues remain unsettled.
What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?
A marital settlement agreement (MSA) is an agreement between divorcing parties on issues relating to the divorce. The MSA can cover all aspects of a divorce, including child custody, child support, visitation, alimony, and the equitable division of assets and liabilities. When a court issues a final divorce decree, the parties will seek to have the MSA incorporated into the order. At that point, the MSA will have the same effect as any other court order, binding the party legally to the rights and obligations contained therein. Violating terms of an MSA incorporated into a court order has the same effect as violating any other court order, opening the breaching party up to sanctions, fines, and even jail time.
Are the Terms of an MSA Binding?
MSAs must be carefully crafted in accordance with California law in order to be enforceable. Community property, for example, is a complex area of law in California, with strict requirements. At any time after the MSA is submitted to the court but before the court issues its final decree, either party may challenge the enforceability of the MSA. A seasoned California divorce settlement attorney can help you ensure that your MSA is drafted appropriately with enforceable terms, or challenge MSA terms that should never have been agreed upon.
A court might not incorporate all aspects of an MSA. If there are terms the court views as unconscionable, illegal, against public policy, or simply not the proper subject of a divorce order, the court can exclude those from the final order. When properly executed, however, an MSA is still a contract. MSA terms excluded in the final divorce decree but which are normally enforceable under contract law may still be enforceable in a separate lawsuit for breach of contract, so long as those terms do not contradict the court order. Terms that contradict the court’s order or that are unenforceable in contract law (such as an agreement to do something illegal) are not enforceable.
Should I Settle?
Drafting and executing an MSA is faster, cheaper, and less emotionally and physically taxing than battling a case through trial. History has also shown that terms ordered by a court are more likely to be ignored or challenged by parties down the line, while terms mutually agreed upon by the parties in a settlement tend to be followed. If a mutually agreeable settlement is possible, our experienced California divorce lawyers tend to advise in favor of settling. Whether such a settlement is possible depends upon the nature of the parties, the circumstances of the divorce, whether you have a seasoned and persuasive divorce attorney on your side, as well as other factors.
Efficient and Effective Resolution of Your California Divorce
For qualified, professional, and compassionate help reaching a divorce settlement, resolving divorce disputes, or facing other family law issues in California, contact a divorce and family law attorney at the Claremont offices of Blasser Law at 877-927-2181.