• create a california marital settlement agreement in divorce

Create a California Marital Settlement Agreement

Marital settlement agreements are prepared when two people agree to settle their divorce case. When you create a California marital settlement agreement, it should contain all of the terms of the divorce settlement. Every issue in a divorce that has been settled should be addressed in this agreement. These issues typically include child support, child custody and visitation, spousal support, and the division of assets and debts. Once finalized, the marital settlement agreement is submitted along with the judgment for approval by the judge. A marital settlement agreement is binding, and it is tough to get out of a marital settlement agreement once it has been approved by the Judge.

How to Create a California Marital Settlement Agreement

As an self-represented party, you may be confused about how to create a California marital settlement agreement for your divorce case. Attorney represented parties often pay thousands of dollars to have an attorney draft the marital settlement agreement. Fortunately, there is a less expensive way to resolve your divorce issues.  Although you can find many samples that could help you create a California marital settlement agreement, more often than not these “samples” do not fit every couple’s situation and to not comply with local rule requirements for specific California counties.

“My husband and I filed our divorce ourselves. We did not hire anyone to help us and created our Marital Settlement Agreement using a form we found online. The process seemed simple. We just filled in the blanks of the form. Everything seemed to be going well…until we filed our Judgment.” J. Warner
“The Los Angeles Court rejected our agreement and our Judgment. They told us it did include language that was required by a local rule. I was so frustrated. I had used the approved sample form for a California Marital Settlement agreement and the judge rejected it. I did not know what to do!” J. Warner
“I found A People’s Choice on the internet. I was so thankful they got back to me even on a Saturday no less! They told me they knew exactly what the problem was. Sure enough, A People’s Choice fixed our agreement, we signed the new one, resubmitted our Judgment and it was approved and our divorce completed. ” J. Warner

Create Your California Marital Settlement Agreement!

  • or call 1-800-747-2780

The Downside of Using a Template Agreement

Some people may choose to use the California court’s sample marital settlement agreement. Unfortunately, using a generic agreement is often deficient of your local court’s mandated court language.

The best and most inexpensive way to create a California marital settlement agreement is working with an experienced legal document assistant.  A legal document assistant can draft an agreement that is customized to your needs, They can also make sure the agreement complies with the local rules of the county where your divorce case is filed.

Steps to Create a California Marital Settlement Agreement

The first step to create a California marital settlement agreement is to review and discuss all divorce issues with your spouse. For example, you may need to discuss child custody and visitation arrangements. You must also agree on who will continue to live in the family residence and/or how vacation property should be sold and proceeds divided. Attend mediation sessions if you cannot reach an agreement.

Tip: Draft a Proposed Marital Settlement Agreement with Options

You do not necessarily need to know the final resolution of all of the issues in order to create a California marital settlement agreement. In most of the divorce cases handled by our office, we create a California marital settlement agreement at the same time as the divorce petition is filed. Experience has shown that having a preliminary draft proposal that outlines all of the issues is a great tool for couples working through those issues. In other words, having all of the various issues outlined in writing with several different options of settlement allows a couple to address each issue individually, discuss the various options, and come up with a final resolution. Once a couple has discussed the issues and worked out a settlement, a couple can then create a California marital settlement agreement in final form that can be signed.

Some people may choose to use the California court’s sample marital settlement agreement, although this agreement may not include specific language mandated by local rules of certain counties. It is a good start, however, to give couples a general idea of what issues need to be discussed. Obviously, a couple will need to modify the agreement to meet their specific  needs as well as comply with a particular county’s local rules.

When you create a California marital settlement agreement, it should provide a general overview of your martial statistics. For example, it should identify who you are, how long you have been married, your age, the date of separation, how many children you and your spouse have together, and why you are divorcing. Next, each section in the agreement should identify any issue that has been settled. For example, you may have subsections as follows:

  1. Child Custody
    1. Legal Custody
    2. Physical Custody
  2. Visitation
  3. Child Support
  4. Spousal Support
  5. Health Insurance
  6. Community Property
  7. Quasi-Community Property
  8. Separate Property
  9. Tax issues
  10. Debts

When you create a California marital settlement agreement, the agreement should identify and explain, in detail, each party’s obligations under each applicable section. In addition, the language in your marital settlement agreement should allowing for modifications, including provisions about how future disputes should be settled. Keep in mind that each county has imposed their own local rules regarding what a marital settlement agreement must contain before the judge will approve it. For this reason alone, it is not recommended to use the generic agreement as often it is deficient of local mandated court language.

Be careful as to what you agree to when you create your California marital settlement agreement. Money can be gained or lost depending on how it is structured. Careful planning and drafting can provide you with peace of mind and make sure you receive an equitable share of community property.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how we can help you create a California marital settlement agreement for your divorce case. We can help you draft a  proposed marital settlement agreement that includes various options addressing the different issues in your divorce. This front-end proposal is a great tool to help couples discuss and finalize the different aspects of their divorce. Remember, you do not need to hire an attorney to create your California marital settlement agreement. Contact A People’s Choice and experience for yourself the benefits of our unique approach to creating the perfect marital settlement agreement. We can help create a California marital settlement agreement that presents and offers variable solutions, while outlining each and every issue. This invaluable tool enables a divorcing couple to work through the difficult issues of their marriage when communication is often the most difficult. Call us today at 800-747-2780 or contact us through our website.

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By |2018-01-18T15:46:12-07:00June 21st, 2017|Family Law|0 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.

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