Marital Settlement Agreement vs. Divorce Decree

“Until death do us part” are the words that every married couple has expressed the day that they join their lives in holy matrimony. Unfortunately, not many can say that they have had the privilege of celebrating their 25th or 50th anniversary. Before they reach these pinnacle dates, couples have gotten a divorce.

According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2019, the state of Oklahoma had a divorce rate of 10.4 divorces per 1,000 women aged 15 and over. This percentage ranked the state the second-highest, just slightly behind Arkansas, in divorce rates for the year.

In most cases, divorce can be disastrous for all the family members, leaving emotional scars that last for years. Sometimes it might be a mutual decision in which both parties make amicable decisions on the distribution of various things.

What actions can be beneficial to these proceedings? You might have heard about a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) or a Divorce Decree.

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA)?

A Marital Settlement Agreement is a legal document drawn up by spouses seeking the dissolution of their marriage. In this agreement, they state how they wish to resolve some issues before the divorce. Some of these issues include:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal support (Alimony)
  • Division of assets

A Marital Settlement Agreement, as it’s known in Oklahoma, can also be known as:

  • Divorce Settlement Agreement
  • Separation and Property Settlement Agreement
  • Mediated Separation Agreement
  • Collaborative Settlement Agreement
  • Property Settlement Agreement (PSA)

Benefits of a Marital Settlement Agreement

The main benefit is that the terms outlined in it have been agreed upon by both spouses. An agreement of this kind is much better than having the terms dictated by a third party, for example, a judge. 

An MSA will help avoid unnecessary chaos and attorney fees in extensive court cases. Although one spouse draws up the agreement, it’s beneficial to seek the advice of a lawyer. These legal professionals will review the MSA and ensure that terms, like “sole legal custody,” aren’t going to affect your legal rights.

What is a Divorce Decree?

Although spouses can agree on the critical issues mentioned above, it’s still necessary for the terms to become official in the courts. When a judge has reviewed this agreement and determined that the terms are fair to both spouses, then a divorce decree is issued.

The divorce decree is an actual court order and is therefore legally binding. Once it’s issued, then the marriage is officially terminated.

Looking For Professional Advice With A Divorce?

If you find yourself deciding to get a divorce, emotions might make it harder to handle the situation. Take part of the load off by getting the legal assistance you deserve at Reddy & Feldhake, P.C.

Our attorneys are equipped to familiarize you with the right steps to getting a divorce in the state of Oklahoma. We will be glad to answer any of your questions when you schedule a free consultation with us.

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