What if a judge does not like the separation agreement at the divorce court hearing?

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What if a judge does not like the separation agreement at the divorce court hearing?

This will be a joint petition in a no fault dvorce.

Asked on December 4, 2011 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding your marital separation agreement.  Your concern is whether or not the judge will agree to your drafted separation agreement.  The answer is usually yes, as long as the judge does not feel as though the parties to the agreement do not understand the legal obligations and ramifications that come along with the terms of your agreement. 

 

 A marital separation agreement is a legally binding contract.  This can be compared to a divorce decree, which is also a legally binding contract.  The terms in your separation agreement can set the tone for what is expected of the parties during a divorce settlement negotiation.  For example, if a wife allows her husband to keep their motor vehicle, and the wife continues to make the car payments on the vehicle, after the couple is divorced, the judge may order for the wife to continue making car payments.  The terms of the marital separation agreement are as binding as the terms in a divorce decree.  If there are terms you would not have agreed upon in a divorce decree, then you should not agree to those terms in a separation agreement. 

 

You will want to be sure that all areas of your marriage have been covered within your separation agreement.  The factors to consider are child support, child custody, visitation rights, marital support (also known as alimony or palimony), and the distribution of all marital assets. 

 

If you have difficulties writing the terms of the agreement, you may find it helpful to contact a family law attorney in your area that can further assist you with the divorce process.


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