- Is an MSA required in Utah divorce?
- What it covers
- Why you need it
- What to do with it
- How long it lasts
Utah requires families to separate assets and debts fairly during divorce. If you share children, you must make custody and financial arrangements too. Collaborate with your spouse, and you’ll save money and time. Use a marital settlement agreement to document your plans.
Is a marital settlement required in Utah?
Utah courts encourage families to work together on an equitable split of assets, debts, and childcare. A marital settlement agreement is typically required if you make arrangements with your spouse through private conversations or mediation.
If you can’t agree on terms, you’ll head to court to argue your case. You won’t need a marital settlement document, as you’re going in front of a judge because you can’t make independent arrangements.
Use our online Marital Settlement Agreement tool to easily build a contract between you and your spouse that details your divorce agreement.
What does a marital separation agreement in Utah cover?
A marital separation agreement is a contract between you and your spouse, detailing every part of your split. Like all contracts, it contains a staggering amount of data.
Your marital separation agreement could outline your plans regarding the following:
- Child custody, visitation schedules, and child support
- Real estate distribution
- Household goods
- Automobile ownership
- Bank account balance divisions
- Debt splits
- Tax liability
- Life insurance benefits
- Future healthcare coverage
- Spousal support (sometimes called alimony)
Your document will be signed, dated, and witnessed. Utah courts will treat it like any other enforceable contract.
Why do you need a marital settlement?
Negotiation and conversation are important parts of the divorce process. You’re encouraged to discuss an equitable split that Utah courts will accept. You must write down the arrangements you make in a format judges understand. Marital settlement agreements serve that purpose.
A marital settlement agreement can also guide your mediation process. If you can’t agree to terms when your divorce begins, you’re required, per Utah law, to enter mediation with your spouse. The agreement can provide a checklist of items you must discuss with your spouse.
Do you have to file this with Utah courts?
The Utah courts website encourages people to file a Divorce Stipulation when they’ve made independent divorce arrangements. A properly designed and executed marital settlement agreement can be attached to your stipulation to outline your agreement.
You can file a stipulation at any point during your divorce process. As soon as you agree, head to the courthouse with your documents.
A filed stipulation notifies the courts that you don’t need a trial to end your marriage. A judge must review your agreement to ensure you’ve complied with Utah law. But you won’t need a hearing with legal officials to end your union.
How long does this agreement last?
Marital settlement agreements don’t expire. The arrangements you document are permanent and legally binding.
Changing a marital settlement agreement requires going to court. You must prove that your negotiation was somehow fraudulent or illegal, so the arrangements aren’t binding. It’s very difficult to win a case like this.
Before you sign anything in your divorce, including marital settlement agreements, read every line and ensure you’re happy with the terms. It’s easier to make changes before documents are filed with the courts than to try to change things after the fact.
Utah marital settlement agreement FAQ
These are some of the most common questions people ask about Utah marital agreements:
Do the courts review the marital settlement agreement for fairness?
Yes. Utah laws require people to split their assets and debts fairly in divorce. Judges must ensure that your plans meet this legal standard. If you’ve outlined terms that clearly benefit one person more than the other, the judge could require you to start again.
What’s the difference between marital and nonmarital property?
Marital property, per Utah law, includes anything you earned, bought, or otherwise acquired during your marriage. You will make arrangements for these assets in your marital settlement agreement.
Nonmarital or separate property is anything you had before your wedding day that you kept separate during your union.
For example, a car you bought as a couple during your honeymoon is marital property. A trust fund your aunt set up for you in an account without your husband’s name on it is nonmarital property.
ReferencesDivorce. Utah State Courts.
Roadmap for Divorce Cases. Utah State Courts.
Divorce Mediation Program. Utah State Courts.
Property Division. Utah State Courts.