The process of reaching a negotiated resolution to your West Palm Beach divorce generally involves the use of a written marital settlement agreement. The marital settlement agreement will contain the terms and conditions of the divorce including the equitable distribution of marital property, provisions for spousal support, responsibility for attorney fees and other matters, whereas the time-sharing arrangements and other provisions related to the children are typically contained in the parenting plan attached as an exhibit to the marital settlement agreement.
There is no precise timeline for when a marital settlement agreement must be used to resolve the issues in a Florida divorce. Sometimes we have prospective clients visit us that say they have already reached an agreement and memorialized the agreement in writing or at least have agreed on the basic terms. In such cases, we will review the agreement to confirm the terms are appropriate under Florida law. We may point out any problems in the terms of the agreement or indicate revisions that need to be made in the written agreement so that it accurately and effectively represents the actual agreement of the parties.
It is more common that a marital settlement agreement occurs after there has been at least a single court hearing and an opportunity for the attorneys for each party to discuss the issues in the case. A marital settlement agreement provides a way to reach an amicable resolution to financial issues and other matters in a divorce. Sometimes the agreement will be reached through informal negotiation between the West Palm Beach divorce attorneys for the parties, or it may be a product of mediation. Once an agreement has been reached on financial matters like the division of property, alimony, child support, responsibility for attorneys’ fees and other issues, the attorneys will draft the marital settlement agreement to reflect the terms and conditions of the agreement.
If the parties have reached an agreement in their divorce that has been memorialized in their marital settlement agreement, then all that remains for the marital dissolution process to become complete is the entry of a Final Judgment of Dissolution by the court. It is important to understand that the marital settlement agreement is part of you’re your judgement. This means that both parties are bound by the terms contained in the marital settlement agreement. If the final judgment has been entered, either party can file enforcement proceedings with the court to compel the other party to adhere to the terms of the marital settlement agreement. The court will typically reserve its jurisdiction over the subject matter, the parties and their children in the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Therefore, the court will continue to possess the ability to impose sanctions on either party who fails to comply with the terms of a marital settlement agreement and parenting plan. However, keep in mind that the sanction of contempt is only available to enforce provisions of the marital settlement agreement that pertain to spousal support, child support, and the parenting plan.
Even if you have not been able to agree with your spouse on the major financial issues in your divorce, many times this changes once both parties have retained an attorney. It is typically easier to reach an agreement on the terms of a marital settlement agreement once you and your spouse have retained attorneys. Experienced West Palm Beach divorce attorneys can guide the parties past animosity and conflict on issues where the resolution is fairly clear. This allows the negotiations to focus on those issues that are more open to multiple dispositions. Mr. Cunha and his legal team possess the knowledge and experience to handle any complex divorce issue.
If you are considering a divorce or you have been served with divorce paperwork, our experienced West Palm Beach divorce attorneys can explain your rights and options. We work diligently to assist our clients in fashioning a marital settlement agreement that will promote or advance our clients’ interests and objectives. Call the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. at 561-429-3924 to schedule a consultation.