Marital settlement agreements constitute the agreement of the parties as to all matters involved in their divorce, including child custody, parenting plans, and support, alimony, and division of property and debts. These agreements are enforceable under Georgia law, but in order to become legally valid and enforceable, they first must be approved by the divorce judge and incorporated into the parties’ final judgment and decree of divorce. The judge will not approve a marital settlement agreement unless it complies with all aspects of Georgia law.
Difficulties can arise, however, when the parties fail to include a provision in their marital settlement agreement. Whether it is an oversight and or an intentional omission by one of the parties, this situation can cause big problems. For instance, assume that the parties jointly own a rental property or a vacation home. If ownership of this property is not addressed at all in the marital settlement agreement, the parties will continue to own the property jointly, even after the divorce is final.
If, however, the parties agree that a mistake has been made, and wish to jointly modify their marital settlement agreement in order to fix the error or add an omitted provision, they can petition the court to modify the agreement. Since the parties are in agreement, the court is likely to approve the request.
Another issue to keep in mind is that child custody, visitation, and support always can be modified. Even if the parties resolve these issues through a marital settlement agreement, either party can ask the court to modify any provisions related to those issues in the future. While provisions relating to property and debt provision are permanent when memorialized in a settlement agreement that the court incorporates into an order, provisions regarding children may be modified by meeting the appropriate legal standards under Georgia law.
Do the best thing for you and your family by ensuring that your marital settlement agreement is completely accurate and includes all necessary provisions the first time around.
Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.