In many divorce proceedings, spouses enter into a “marital settlement agreement” or “MSA” in order to resolve some of the more significant issues affecting their family. By doing so, parties hope to reduce or limit the duration of the proceedings as well as any potential disputes. Reaching the decision to divorce can be difficult enough, without the added stress of arguing over property, custody, support, and the like. Questions sometimes arise, however, as to the enforceability of the MSA. It is an agreement, similar to most contracts, which must adhere to certain legal qualifications in order to be enforceable. If you are considering divorce, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney as early as possible in the process. A local San Diego lawyer would be able to help you navigate the system, while addressing the relevant legal issues in an efficient manner to protect and advance your rights.
In a recent divorce case, characterized as “highly litigated,” the parties disputed the enforceability of a MSA, which allegedly purported to resolve issues such as the division of community property, obligations, and other financial rights and claims. The MSA was allegedly intended to reach a “global settlement” and to be incorporated into the judgment of divorce. Here, the parties married in 1993 and the wife filed for dissolution of marriage in 2007. In 2008, the couple executed the marital settlement agreement, which is at issue in this case. In March 2009, the husband filed a motion to enter judgment based on the agreement, in accordance with Section 664.6 of the state civil procedure code.