If you have questions about the incorporation and merging of your separation contract into a divorce decree, please contact an experienced family law lawyer in your jurisdiction. Livesay- Myers, P.C. has a team of experienced family lawyers with five comfortable offices representing clients in Northern Virginia. Contact us to agree on a consultation today. Suppose a married couple, John and Suzy, reached an agreement in 2015 in which John agreed to pay Suzy $2,000 a month in sped assistance, subject to a change. In 2016, John was in a car accident that left him paralyzed and unable to work. Suzy then sclaims for divorce in 2017 and asks that the agreement be included in a final divorce order. In this situation, it may be unfair to include the sped assistance provision in a court order. The terms of your separation agreement “merge” or “survive” a divorce judgment. An extremely technical aspect of the separation agreements in Massachusetts is this classification, which determines whether the terms of the agreement “merge” or “survive.” The way a term is categorized can dramatically alter the long-term impact of your divorce judgment.
This classification will determine whether you or your spouse can return to court after the end of the divorce and ask the court to amend some of the merged issues that were decided during your final divorce. It is important to note that the sharing of assets and liabilities is final and cannot be changed, whether the terms of sharing survive or merge. It is also important to understand that most children`s issues must be merged by law. In other words, children`s issues need to be merged and could be changed in the future. To be clear, the difference between the terms “merged” and “survivors” is that the surviving provisions are those that “survive” the divorce sentence, which means that they continue to exist in the form of an independent contract between the parties; The distribution of the property of the matrimonial estate is the most common example of a surviving destination, although other elements of the agreement may just as well survive as long as the parties agree. Violations of a surviving provision can be enforced through a contempt complaint, filed with the estate and family court, or civil proceedings for breach. On the other hand, the merged provisions of a separation agreement do not retain an independent legal value beyond the divorce judgment and are treated only as a court decision. This means that when a party violates a merged provision of a separation agreement, the other party`s only recourse is to file a complaint for contempt of the estate and the family court.