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Preparing for your divorce agreement

If you are considering divorce, it’s important to understand the issues that a divorce settles and which agreements you can make to absolve them.

Read on to learn more about what to include in your divorce agreement and the difference between a merged agreement and survived agreement.

Issues covered in a divorce agreement

You can file divorce agreement, also called a separation agreement, in Massachusetts if you have lived in the state for one year or if the reason the marriage ended happened in Massachusetts when you and your spouse lived in the state.

Working with your spouse and an attorney to reach the agreement may help make matters go over more quickly in court if the agreement is made part of the divorce judgement.

Important aspects to cover in the separation agreement include:

  • Custody of children
  • Parenting time or visits
  • Dividing your assets (including pensions)
  • Dividing your property

If you had a prenuptial agreement, financial decisions may already be arranged. However, if you have children, a custody order must still be established.

Merged agreement

A separation agreement can be merged with a judgment of divorce. This means that the term of the agreement are directly incorporated into the judgment. If this is possible, you will no longer need the judgment of a court on each of the issues in the agreement.

Survived agreement

If a separation agreement survives a judgment of divorce, its terms are incorporated into the judgment too. However, the separation agreement is technically an independent legal contract, meaning its terms cannot be modified. For example, it can be common for alimony decisions to “survive” a judgement of divorce.

Contact a lawyer to help write your agreement

If you are considering a writing a separation agreement with your spouse, consult an attorney for help. Some issues in a separation agreement can have tax consequences and other caveats that may be easily overlooked. An experienced lawyer can help make for an easier, faster divorce process.

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