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What Is An Incorporated Settlement Agreement In Divorce?

When dealing with divorce agreements and settlements, you will likely come across the terms "merged" and "incorporated." What exactly does "incorporated" mean when dealing with a settlement agreement? Here's all you need to know to help you discuss your options with your lawyer.

Becoming Part of the Divorce Decree

Incorporated settlement agreements become part of the divorce decree. It can be enforced at a later point in the proceedings. Those who don't follow through with these parts of the agreement can be held in contempt of court.

If you want something specific added into your divorce decree, it's worth fighting for it to be incorporated. Any others can be fought against after the judgment has been given.

When Elements Are Incorporated and Merged

There are times that both words will be used in settlement agreements, usually by courts. In these cases, only the elements that the courts have power over will be incorporated. Other elements can be overturned later.

It is important to question your attorney when it comes to the use of both terms. Find out specifically which elements are incorporated and which ones are merged.

Opting for Incorporated but Not Merged

Many divorce lawyers will ask for the term "incorporated but not merged" in the divorce decree. This is used in case in the future the other party decides not to go through with everything initially agreed upon. It sets up the rights already mentioned, where the points can be legally forced.

The court will need to put either "and" or "but not" merged into the legal documents. You will needed to work with your lawyer to get the wording that works better for you.

Types of Agreements That Need to be Incorporated

Some of the agreements may not be relevant for years down the line. Many will involve children and the children's tuition costs once at college. When incorporated but not merged, the legal agreement will automatically stand and the person not following through with the agreement will find him or herself in contempt of court. When incorporated and merged, either party could end up refusing and in some cases will never be held to that agreement due to a lack of state law or statute.

Legal terms are often confusing and technical. It's up to you to consult a lawyer before you sign anything, or you can visit websites like http://www.glfamilylaw.com for more information. Incorporated settlements can work out better for you, but watch out for the wording when it comes to being merged at the same time.