Filing a legal document can be a daunting task, and it’s crucial to ensure that it’s done correctly.
One of the most important legal documents is the marital settlement agreement, which outlines the terms of a divorce or separation.
It’s important to carefully review and fill out every field to ensure that both parties are protected and that the agreement is legally binding.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the different sections of the marital settlement agreement and explain how to fill out each field correctly.
In this field, you should fill in the name of the county where the court is located. This is important because it establishes the jurisdiction and venue for the divorce proceedings.
For example, if you live in Pulaski County, Arkansas, you would fill in “Pulaski” in the blank.
In these fields, you should fill in the full names of the two parties seeking the divorce. The Plaintiff is the person initiating the divorce process, while the Defendant is the other spouse.
For example, if John Smith is filing for divorce from Jane Smith, John would be the Plaintiff and Jane the Defendant.
Here, you should fill in the case number assigned to your divorce by the court. This is important for tracking the case and ensuring proper documentation. You will receive the case number when you file the initial divorce paperwork.
This section of the agreement specifies the names of the two parties involved in the divorce, namely the Husband and Wife. It is important to fill out this section to ensure that there is no confusion about who the agreement pertains to.
For example, in case of a mistake or discrepancy, the local court would not know whom to hold responsible.
In this field, fill in the date the agreement was made. This helps establish the timeline of the divorce process.
For example, if you and your spouse reached an agreement on April 1, 2023, you would fill in “April 1, 2023.”
In this field, enter the date you and your spouse were married. This is important for determining the length of the marriage and can impact certain aspects of the divorce, such as spousal support. For example, if you were married on June 15, 2010, you would fill in “June 15, 2010.”
Fill in the city and state where you and your spouse were married. This information is used to verify the marriage took place.
For example, if you were married in Little Rock, Arkansas, you would fill in “Little Rock” and “Arkansas.”
Check the appropriate box to indicate if either or both spouses are members of the Armed Forces. This is important for determining if special rules or considerations apply to your divorce due to military service.
Fill in the date you and your spouse separated. This date is important for establishing the timeline of the divorce and may impact certain aspects of the divorce, such as property division or spousal support. Check the appropriate box to indicate if you and your spouse have minor children together. If you do, complete Attachment A to provide details related to child support, custody, and other terms related to the minor children.
For example, if you separated on January 1, 2023, you would fill in “January 1, 2023.”
Minor child(REN) of the marriage.
This term refers to the process by which both parties share their financial information with each other. It is important to disclose all financial assets and liabilities to ensure an equitable distribution of property, debts, and assets. In some jurisdictions, financial disclosure is required by law to be completed before the divorce can be finalized. Check the appropriate box to indicate if you and your spouse have already disclosed your financial information to each other or if you have waived your right to view each other’s financial information.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a payment made by one spouse to the other spouse after a divorce or separation. It is intended to help the receiving spouse maintain a similar standard of living to that which they had during the marriage. This section of the agreement allows the couple to decide whether or not spousal support will be paid and, if so, the terms of the support.
In this section, the couple should check one of the following options:
There Shall Not be Spousal Support: This means that neither spouse will be obligated to pay, provide for, or support the other after the marriage is dissolved. In other words, there will be no spousal support.
There Shall Be Spousal Support: This means that one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. The couple should check the appropriate box to indicate which spouse will be the Paying Spouse and which will be the Receiving Spouse. They should also choose one of the following options for how long spousal support will be paid:
In Perpetuity: This means that spousal support will be paid indefinitely, until certain events occur, such as the death of the Receiving Spouse or their remarriage. The couple should also indicate how much will be paid each month.
For example, the couple might agree that the Paying Spouse will pay $2,000 per month until the Receiving Spouse dies or remarries.
Until an End Date: This means that spousal support will be paid until a specific date, which should be filled in the blank. The couple should also indicate how much will be paid each month.
For example, the couple might agree that spousal support will be paid until January 1, 2030, and the Paying Spouse will pay $1,500 per month until that date.
On a Payment Schedule found in Attachment B: This means that the couple has attached a schedule to the Agreement that outlines the payment schedule for spousal support. This schedule might include the amount to be paid each month, the start and end dates, and any other relevant information.
Once the couple has decided which option they prefer, they should check the appropriate box and fill in the date when spousal support will begin, which might be the date of the divorce or another agreed-upon date. They should also indicate whether the Paying Spouse will be the husband or wife and whether the Receiving Spouse will be the husband or wife.
Finally, the couple should indicate how much will be paid each month, which should be filled in the blank.
For example, the couple might agree that spousal support will be $1,000 per month. The due date of the payment should also be indicated, such as the 1st of each month.
The term “Change of Circumstances” refers to situations in which an unforeseen event or occurrence alters the circumstances under which the property settlement agreement was originally created. It is important to fill out this field because it defines the circumstances under which spousal support payments may or may not be modified. In this case, there are two options: (1) Spousal Support Cannot Change or (2) Spousal Support Can Change.
If the couple chooses option (1), then no court can modify the spousal support payments, except in the event of the Receiving Spouse’s death, remarriage, or termination by further court order.
If they choose option (2), then spousal support may be modified only upon a proper showing in a change of circumstances. The change of circumstances is limited to specific events such as Job Loss, Injury, Disability, Illness/Disease, and Others.
If the couple selects “Other,” then they must provide additional details about what circumstances would qualify for a modification of spousal support payments.
Example: The couple chooses “Spousal Support Can Change” and selects “Job Loss” as a change of circumstance. Later, the Paying Spouse loses their job, and as a result, they can no longer afford to make the spousal support payments. In this case, the Receiving Spouse may petition the court to modify the spousal support payments to reflect the new circumstances.
Check the appropriate box to indicate each spouse’s responsibility for their health insurance coverage. If one spouse is providing health insurance for the other, select the types of insurance provided (medical, dental, vision, etc.) and specify the responsibilities of the paying spouse. This section ensures that both spouses understand their health insurance obligations following the divorce.
This section refers to whether the Couple owns a home or not, and if they do, who owns it, who lives there, and whether it will be sold as part of the agreement or not. It is important to fill out this section so that both parties understand what will happen to the marital home and whether it will be sold or not.
An example of how to fill this out would be:
OWN a home, either separately or jointly, at the property address of 123 Main St. (“Marital Home”).
The Marital Home is currently owned by: Both Spouses
The following currently live at the Marital Home: Both Spouses
The Marital Home shall be: Not placed for sale.
This section lists the assets and property that the Husband shall be the owner of under the agreement. It is important to fill out this section to ensure that both parties understand who owns which assets and property after the divorce.
An example of how to fill this out would be: The Husband shall be the owner of the following assets and property: 2018 Toyota Camry, Bank of America checking account #123456789, and 50% of the stocks in Acme Corporation.
This section lists the assets and property that the Wife shall be the owner of under the agreement. It is important to fill out this section to ensure that both parties understand who owns which assets and property after the divorce.
An example of how to fill this out would be: The Wife shall be the owner of the following assets and property: 2019 Honda Civic, Wells Fargo savings account #987654321, and 50% of the stocks in Acme Corporation.
Check the appropriate box to indicate if there will be a cash payment between the spouses to balance the division of property. If there is a payment, specify the amount, which spouse will pay, the recipient spouse, and the due date. This section ensures the division of assets and property is fair and equitable between the parties.
List the liabilities that each spouse will assume following the divorce. This section helps establish a clear division of debts between the parties. If additional space is needed, continue on Attachments E and F as needed.
Indicate whether the couple has any retirement plans. If they do, list the retirement plans and the future ownership of the plans upon signing the agreement. This section establishes how retirement benefits will be divided or allocated following the divorce.
Check the appropriate box to indicate if either spouse plans to change their name after the divorce. If a name change is planned, specify the new names for the applicable spouse(s). This section clarifies the legal name change intentions of the spouses following the divorce
In this section, you can include any additional terms or conditions that both spouses have agreed upon and are not covered in the other sections of the agreement.
For example, the couple might agree on who is responsible for pet care, or how to handle family vacations. By addressing these additional concerns in the agreement, both parties can avoid potential disputes in the future.
Example: Term: Pet Care Additional Term Description: The husband will be responsible for the care and expenses of the family dog, Fido, including veterinary care and grooming.
This section confirms that the agreement contains the entire understanding between the spouses and supersedes any previous agreements. It ensures that both parties are aware that this document is the final and complete agreement on the matters discussed.
Both spouses must sign and date the agreement, acknowledging their consent to its terms. This section makes the agreement legally binding.
List the names and birth dates of any minor children from the marriage. This section identifies the children who will be affected by the child support and custody arrangements.
Example: Name: Emily Smith Date of Birth: January 10, 2015
Indicate whether the couple is expecting any additional children. This ensures that any unborn children are considered in the agreement.
Choose the appropriate custody arrangement for the children (sole or joint custody). This establishes who will have primary responsibility for the children’s physical care and residence.
Specify the visitation schedule for each spouse with the children. This creates a clear and fair plan for when each parent will spend time with the children.
Example: Husband’s Schedule: Every Other Weekend Wife’s Schedule: Monday thru Friday
Indicate whether either spouse can move their residence and the notice or distance requirements for moving. This ensures both spouses are aware of any changes that may impact the children’s living situation.
Example: ☐ – ALLOWED to Move. Either Spouse may move their residence by providing at least 30 days’ notice.
State whether the couple has had any previous custody or visitation orders from a court. If so, provide the case number and location.
Choose the appropriate child support option for the couple. This section defines each spouse’s financial responsibilities for the children.
Example: ☐ – CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS. Child Support payments shall be made by the Husband to the Wife in the following manner
This section deals with additional support obligations beyond child support. Both spouses can decide whether to include any extra support measures, such as health and dental insurance coverage or uncovered healthcare expenses.
Example: ☐ – ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PAYMENTS. Additional Support payments shall be made in the following manner: (check all that apply) ☐ – Health and Dental Insurance. The wife shall maintain coverage for each minor child under the medical and dental insurance provided through her employment.
This section specifies which spouse can claim the minor children as dependents for tax-related benefits. It helps avoid confusion and potential conflicts during tax season.
Example: ☐ Husband shall have: N/A ☐ Wife shall have: Emily Smith
This section confirms that both spouses are informed of their rights concerning child support and agree that the stipulated amount is in the best interest of the children.
ATTACHMENT B (SPOUSAL SUPPORT): This attachment should detail any spousal support (alimony) arrangements that have been agreed upon between the spouses.
Example: Wife shall pay Husband $1,000 per month for 24 months, starting on May 1, 2023.
ATTACHMENT C (HUSBAND’S PROPERTY): This attachment should list any additional property that belongs solely to the husband and was not mentioned in the main agreement.
Example: Husband’s additional property: 1967 Ford Mustang, art collection, inherited jewelry.
ATTACHMENT D (WIFE’S PROPERTY): This attachment should list any additional property that belongs solely to the wife and was not mentioned in the main agreement.
Example: Wife’s additional property: Piano, antique furniture, designer handbag collection.
ATTACHMENT E (HUSBAND’S LIABILITIES): This attachment should list any additional liabilities that belong solely to the husband and were not mentioned in the main agreement.
Example: Husband’s additional liabilities: Personal loan from Bank X, credit card debt with Card Y, outstanding medical bills.
ATTACHMENT F (WIFE’S LIABILITIES): This attachment should list any additional liabilities that belong solely to the wife and were not mentioned in the main agreement.
Example: Wife’s additional liabilities: Student loan debt, unpaid taxes from previous years, a car loan for her vehicle.
Payments of $500 shall be due on the 1st of each month commencing on May 1, 2023.
In conclusion, filling out a marital settlement agreement correctly is crucial for ensuring that both parties are protected in a divorce or separation. By carefully reviewing and filling out each section of the document, you can ensure that the agreement is legally binding and that both parties are satisfied with the terms. We hope this guide has provided you with a better understanding of how to fill out a marital settlement agreement and has given you the tools you need to do so successfully. Remember, it’s always best to consult with a lawyer if you have any questions or concerns about the process.