A Marital Settlement Agreement is an agreement that resolves all of the issues that must be addressed by a court in a dissolution of marriage or divorce case. Your Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) is also a legal contract. It is a contract that is much more significant than most of the other contracts you will sign such as your cell phone contract, cable television contract, or maybe even the contract for the purchase of your car. Your MSA can address issues concerning your home and create obligations to pay money to your spouse for many years. Because your Marital Settlement Agreement is such a significant contract, it is important that you review the MSA with a Florida family law attorney before you sign it.
Many people feel that they do not want to hire an attorney to represent them during the dissolution of their marriage and many people can't afford an attorney. These people use the standard forms that are approved by the Florida Supreme Court. Over the past 10 years I have seen these people make significant mistakes in preparing their Marital Settlement Agreements. In one case the parties called the monthly payments the wife was supposed to receive for her share of the family business alimony. The monthly payments should not have been modifiable, but because the parties called them alimony, the husband was able to get them modified.
Even if you choose not to retain an attorney in your dissolution of marriage, you can and should consult with a family law attorney before you sign a Marital Settlement Agreement.