What type of Agreement do you need?

Often clients are unaware of the different types of martial agreements available. Depending on the client and their individual needs, different agreements are appropriate. There are four major agreements in matrimonial law:

Pre-Nuptial: This is an agreement the parties enter in contemplation of marriage. This agreement need not address all aspects or issues which may arise from the break down of the marriage. It is a contract to dictate how certain assets, debts, and obligations will be divided or apportioned should the marriage break down in the future. A good example of when this agreement is used is where one party comes into the marriage with monies or an asset that they want to ensure will remain his or her's upon the breakdown of the marriage.

Post- Nuptial: This is an agreement the parties enter into while married. Like the prenuptial agreement, the post-nuptial agreement need not address all aspects or issues which may arise from the break down of the marriage. Again, it is a contract to dictate how certain assets, debts, and obligations will be divided or apportioned should the marriage break down in the future. A good example of when this agreement is used is where one person acquires an asset during the marriage that they want to ensure the other person will not have a claim to should the marriage breakdown.

Separation Agreement: This is an agreement entered between parties during the marriage, upon the breakdown of the marriage. This allows people to remain married while having a contract to resolve any and all issues which arise from the breakdown of the marriage. A good example of when this Agreement is used is when one spouse wants to remain on the other spouse's medical insurance, but they parties choose to live separate and apart.

Stipulation of Settlement: This is the most common agreement, as it is the agreement reached upon resolution of your divorce. Upon reaching a settlement at any stage of the litigation, this agreement resolves any and all issues that arise from the breakdown of the marriage. This is typically the document my clients refer to as his or her "divorce papers." (However, see my blog on "When am I divorced?")

The most important thing to remember when signing an agreement is to remember how important what you are signing is, because it can be, and sometimes is impossible, to undo the Agreement. Contact a lawyer at our firm to learn what type of agreement works for you.

Categories: Divorce