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Ask the Expert: What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?

Q: What is a marital settlement agreement?
A: A marital settlement agreement is a legally binding contract wherein the parties to a dissolution of marriage or a legal separation have made certain agreements on how to split their assets and debts, including retirement, if any. It will also generally lay out any provisions that relate to child support and/or spousal support. At times, if the parties have agreed to an attorney's fees provision, this contract may also include provisions for this as well. Furthermore, if the parties' have minor children there will also be provisions for custody and visitation. This is a legally binding contract and is enforceable both under family law principles as well as, typically, underneath civil law.

—Tiffany L. Andrews, CFLS, CWLS, President of Law Office of Tiffany L. Andrews, P.C., 6611 Folsom Auburn Road, Suite H, Folsom, 916-794-4576,

by Emily Peter-Corey