What is a Marital Dissolution Agreement?

A marital dissolution agreement (sometimes called an “MDA”) is a document used in irreconcilable differences divorces.  It’s basically a contract between a husband and wife to end their marriage and divide all the marital property and marital debts.  In order to properly draft your MDA, your lawyer will need a lot of information about the assets you and your spouse have acquired during your marriage.

Your marital dissolution agreement should address all of the following areas:

Real estate: Who will keep it?  Will one person buy the other party out?  Will the property be sold?  Will you still be responsible for the payments?

Vehicles: Who keeps which vehicle?  Who is responsible for the payments?  What if there are multiple vehicles?  What if your name is on the loan for the car your spouse wants to keep?

Personal property: Many people have already divided their property before this agreement gets written, but you may want to include a list of property that you will keep after the divorce is over.

Retirement funds/Pensions: This could include funds held in a 401(k), 403(b), TCRS, military pensions, civil service pensions, Roth IRAs, ESOPs, profit-sharing plans, or any other kind of retirement investments.  Some of these investments can be divided easily, some cannot.  Military benefits can be particularly difficult to value and divide between spouses.

Stocks and other investments: This includes traditional investments like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, but might also include ownership interests a company or a practice, such as a dentist’s or doctor’s practice.

Credit: Marital debt can include credit cards, personal loans, equity loans, mortgages, and money owed to places like check cashing services.

Alimony: If alimony is appropriate, the agreement should state what type of alimony, how much is to be paid, and when the alimony will end.

Maiden name: The parties can agree that the wife will be able to restore her maiden name, saving her the expense of filing a separate action to change her name.

Other provisions: Other important terms will include who will pay the attorney’s fees and court costs.  In addition, the parties can include all kinds of creative terms that will help them divide their property in a way that is advantageous to both of them.

The marital dissolution agreement is an important document that needs to be crafted carefully.  If you are in a situation where you have property and debts that need to be divided, contact me to find out how I can help protect your interests.