Property Agreements and Your Family Divorce Attorney

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A property agreement, drawn up with your family divorce attorney, must divide the marital assets and debts and may also deal with child custody, support, and related issues.

A Marital Settlement Agreement can be drawn up before the dissolution is final. The MSA is treated like a contract between two parties and may be incorporated into the final Judgment. Before you draw up a MSA or property agreement, you will want to consult your lawyer.

If you are able to draw up a property agreement, you may be able to avoid going to court at all. Your lawyer will draw up the formal documents, you will sign them, and he will file them with the court. When the Judge signs the Judgment a few days later, you are divorced (provided the required waiting period has elapsed.)

When a property settlement is finalized, it can only be changed by agreement of the parties or order of the court. So, you don’t want to rush into an agreement.

If one party can demonstrate that his or her consent was garnered through coercion or fraud, there are grounds to have the settlement thrown out.

When drawing up the MSA, it is important to know the rules of community property. All property that you brought free and clear before the marriage is separate property. Property acquired during the marriage with community money is community property and must be divided equally. All property that was purchased in part before the marriage but also paid for with community funds (for instance, a house), must be apportioned.

Debts are also community property and must be assigned to one party or the other. However, student loans, even if acquired during the marriage, are separate property.

Property agreements can be very complicated for couples, especially if there are significant assets. Contact family divorce attorney Julian Fox at 877-369-5294 for more information.

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