Deciding on pursuing a settlement agreement can be a difficult time in life. If you are in a situation where you need to pursue a settlement agreement, don’t try to do it yourself. Once signed, a settlement/divorce agreement is a legally binding contract.
If you need help with a settlement agreement, call Tucker, Nong and Associates now for assistance. We can help you create a settlement agreement that protects your best interests now and in the future. If your spouse is presenting you with a settlement agreement, let us to review it first so that your rights are protected.
What is a Settlement Agreement?
A settlement agreement is a written document that has several different common names. Although the document is the same, the name changes depending on the area. Some other common names for settlement agreement can be:
- Divorce Settlement Agreement
- Property Settlement Agreement
- Separation and Property Settlement Agreement
- Custody, Support, and Property Agreement
- Marital Settlement Agreement
All these names refer to the same document. In this article, we will refer to this document as a “settlement agreement”.
When to create a Settlement Agreement
There is no specific time when a separating couple must enter into a settlement agreement. However, separating couples are eligible to enter into this agreement either before or after you separate/file for a divorce. Remember, the sooner a settlement agreement is signed, the sooner each spouse can move on with their lives.
Why you should hire a lawyer
There are a few very good reasons to hire a lawyer when pursuing a settlement agreement. f your spouse has presented you with a settlement agreement to sign, you should always have it reviewed by your own personal lawyer to make sure it protects your rights and best interests.
Settlement agreements can be complicated. Without a formal background in family law, it would be very difficult to understand all the language included in the language. This is a problem because a settlement agreement decides major issues such as distribution of property, child custody, visitation and other key issues.
Should We Write our own Agreement?
This is usually a bad idea. Most likely, the agreement will not be specific as to your state’s laws and may miss important legal provisions. It might be vague or unclear. If so, and you and your spouse disagree on a provision later, you may end up spending more money on attorneys, trying to fix or clarify the agreement. It’s probably worth a few hours of an attorney’s time to get a good agreement in place.
What happens if the Settlement Agreement is not followed?
Settlement agreements are legally binding contracts, but that does not mean that they are not negotiable. There are some situations in which you and your spouse may both decide to stop following the terms in the settlement agreement in order to better adjust to your lifestyles. But it is important to remember, that if you do anything other specified in the original settlement agreement, your spouse does have the right to enforce the terms you agreed upon.
What if the Agreement is not Followed?
Although a divorce agreement is legally binding, how an agreement is enforced can depend on the relationship between you and your spouse. You and your spouse may decide to verbally adjust your agreement however, you should remember that unless an agreement is officially edited, your spouse may enforce the original terms of the signed agreement. Simply put, the signed, written agreement will always overrule any verbal agreements made after the original signing.
Can the Settlement Agreement be changed?
The short answer is, yes. Any provisions that outline property distribution, debt and all other matters can be adjusted only if both you and your spouse agree on the terms of the modification. You and your spouse will need to create a “modified divorce agreement” or “modification agreement” which will be included into a new court order.
Changes to child support,and visitation can be altered if you can show a change in circumstances which has occurred after the original signing of the divorce settlement agreement.
Alimony/spousal support modifications may be available under certain circumstances. This will be determined by the original settlement agreement. This is another reason why it is crucial to hire your own personal settlement agreement lawyer.
Do You Find Yourself In Need Of A Family Lawyer In Virginia, Maryland Or Washington D.C.?
If you find yourself considering divorce or need to fight for custody of your children you need to speak with an experineced family law attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your free case consultation.