Marital Settlement Agreements vs Stipulated Judgments2023-12-13T10:49:37+00:00

When you and your partner have decided to end your marriage, there are many details to negotiate. From deciding how to divide up your money, home, retirement accounts, and even your vintage record collection, to deciding how the kids will divide their time between two households, how much each of you will contribute to their support, and even spousal support, all of it can be difficult and sometimes contentious.

When partners can agree on the terms of their divorce, whether through negotiating together, with attorneys, or with a mediator, they can enter into an agreement that becomes part of the divorce decree and enforceable by the courts. These settlement terms are generally memorialized in a marital settlement agreement or a stipulated judgment.

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

A marital settlement agreement contains the agreements of the parties to a divorce and is generally attached and incorporated to the judgment of dissolution. A marital settlement agreement between a couple with children might include child and spousal support, a custody and visitation agreement, property and asset division, and any other agreements of the parties. The terms are generally negotiated by the parties and their attorneys outside of court, but they may also be determined by a settlement conference or mediation. Once a marital settlement agreement is signed by the parties and finalized by the court, it becomes the final judgment in the case and is enforceable by family court and law enforcement.

What is a Stipulated Judgment?

A stipulated judgment is similar to a marital settlement agreement, only it generally occurs where the terms of custody, support, or asset division are contested. The terms of a stipulated judgment may cover similar topics – custody, visitation, support, and asset division – but they may be shorter and less detailed when compared to a marital settlement agreement. Sometimes a marital settlement agreement will be also be memorialized as a stipulated judgment. As with a marital settlement agreement, a stipulated judgment is incorporated into the judgment of dissolution and is enforceable by the court.

If you are going through a divorce and concerned about obtaining a marital settlement that is right for you and your family, be sure to contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options.

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