Marital Settlement Agreement or a Separation Agreement is a document outlining the terms you will be divorcing on. If you and your spouse are planning to end things amicably or just want to speed up the process and leave your past behind, working on an Agreement together is a great decision. Before you start doing it, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Sample Marital Settlement Agreement for California
First of all, it would be helpful to review a California Marital Settlement Agreement form to see which exact aspects of your marriage dissolution you and your spouse need to discuss. It is best to write down the results of your discussions on a separate piece of paper or in a file before putting answers in the document. This will allow you to get back to your decisions later, review them together, and see if any of you changed your mind.
For your convenience, we have attached a link to a sample of a Marital Settlement Agreement for California.
What Is a Marital Settlement Agreement?
In a nutshell, a Divorce Settlement Agreement is a detailed account of decisions that you and your spouse made regarding your children, assets, and finances. Once you file it with the court along with other documents, a judge will review it and might approve it, making it a court order that is mandatory to follow. This implies that at this point, your Agreement becomes a set of rules that you need to abide by. If either you or your ex violate them, there will be serious repercussions.
How to Fill Out a Marital Settlement Agreement?
A Separation or Divorce Agreement may take different forms, and will be considered a legal document as long as the court rules are followed when drafting it. There are a few sections that definitely need to be present in your Agreement, and the more specific information you provide in them is the better. In the long run, it will help you avoid disputes and ensure that processes taking place after the divorce will go smoothly.
When it comes to spousal support, it is important to decide if any of you shall receive it. If you decide that it is not going to be necessary, you will not be able to request it later. Therefore, take your time to think it through.
If you plan on asking for alimony, it is necessary to detail:
• Who will be receiving it.
• How often it will be paid.
• What dates it will be paid on.
• What kind of payment method will be used.
• When will the payment stop.
Discussing alimony, you might have polar views on any of the above points, and it is normal. To settle on a final decision, you might want to review guidelines that judges in California use to determine what would be fair to both parties.
This section is going to be rather elaborate even if you believe there is nothing that you own jointly. The thing is that CA is a community law state, so everything you acquired while you were married needs to be divided. While there are exceptions, such as gifts and inheritance, even kitchen supplies might be relevant to mention.
If you are dividing real estate or planning on transferring rights to it to your spouse, it is crucial to indicate:
• Whose name is on the title.
• Address and parcel number.
• Detailed description of property.
• Agreement regarding or transfer of rights on real estate in question.
When it comes to the division of vehicles, you may want to state which ones are owned either jointly or separately, and provide information essential for the identification of those vehicles. After that, it is necessary to show who will have ownership of each further.
Other assets which you should consider during the division are:
• Life insurance
• Bank accounts
• Employee benefits
• Household items
If any of you currently holds assets belonging to the other spouse, you might want to consider mentioning that you will either remain in possession of the item or plan an exchange.
It would be necessary to mention if there are any debts, whose name they are in if they are not joint, and who will be paying them. Additionally, indicate the sums owned and the names of creditors if you believe this information is relevant. Make sure it is absolutely clear, without interpretation, who will be responsible for each of the debts acquired.
Custody and Parenting Time
If your kids are minors, this section is a must in your Agreement. Things you need to consider covering here are:
• Names and birth dates of your children.
• Joint or sole custody arrangements.
• Visitation schedule.
• Who will pay child support, how much, when, and by what means.
When it comes to child support payments, it is crucial to be specific as to dates and amounts, as well as when the payments are going to stop.
There are a few more things you might want to touch upon in your Settlement Agreement:
• Pet ownership.
• Payment of court costs.
• Confirmation of full disclosure of financial information to each other.
• Conditions of implementation and modification of an agreement.
Before bringing the Agreement to the notary, go over everything you have outlined in the document and make sure that there are enough details, there are no inconsistencies or contradictory statements, and you both actually agree on each point made.
If you find it hard to understand the terminology or questions in the form, you can always get it filled out with the help of OnlineDivorceCalifornia.