Marital Separation Agreement: A Separate Contract vs. A Merger with Judgment

Posted on Mar 6, 2010 by Hofheimer Family Law

If you plan to take advantage of a marital separation agreement (otherwise known as a property settlement agreement), to help with your Virginia divorce proceedings, you will have to submit your agreement to the court. The agreement must be signed by both you and your husband. Remember, it is important to have an experienced Virginia divorce attorney look over the settlement before you sign anything.

Once the document has been signed and submitted to the court, it becomes a legally binding contract. At this point, the court will have two options: your marital separation agreement could be deemed a separate contract, or, it could be merged with the judgment to allow for modification, much like a court order.

Marital Separation Agreement as a Separate Contract

As a separate contract, a property settlement agreement is generally more difficult to modify. This is because it would fall into contract law, rather than that of a court order.

It would be more difficult or impossible to modify:

  • The extent and duration of spousal support and maintenance.
  • Terms of child support

Your right to sue for any violation of the contract would remain constant.

Marital Separation Agreement as Merged With the Judgment of Your Divorce

This option allows you more modification options through the court.

Modifications can include:

  • Duration and amount of spousal maintenance
  • Terms of child support

However, you will have no right to sue because there is no surviving contract on which to sue.

Browse our library to learn more about the complications and fundamentals of marital separation agreements.

The Virginia divorce attorneys at Hofheimer Family Law Firm care about your rights, the welfare and happiness of your children, and your financial security. Let us use our unique experience and legal expertise to help you focus on your goals for your future and your family. Contact us today at (757) 425-5200 for more information about our monthly seminars, or to schedule a one-hour legal consultation with one of our Virginia women’s divorce attorneys.