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Marital Settlement Agreements: An Alternative to the Florida Contested Divorce

Florida Marital Settlement Agreements

Very few words invoke feelings of misery or dread like the word “divorce.” It’s a word that, for most people, is synonymous with intense anxiety and the destruction of ones family. In a Florida contested divorce, these feelings are unavoidable consequences of an adversarial proceeding. However, for those who can agree on the terms of their divorce, a Marital Settlement Agreement offers an opportunity to turn a hostile situation into a managed and predictable process. The agreement provides certainty, with both parties compromising on various points to reach resolution of the divorce, and thereby resolving all issues relative to custody, visitation, property division, child support and spousal support.

Advantages of Settlement

Less Fees and Costs: Because marital settlement agreements can be reached quickly and do not involve protracted litigation in court, attorneys spend a fraction of the time that would otherwise be needed to complete the divorce.  The cost is thereby minimized.
Speed: Divorcing spouses have full control over the speed of the settlement negotiations, and are not delayed by litigation and court backlogs.
Flexibility: A settlement agreement is a product of the parties’ chosen solutions to resolve their particular problems and and concerns.

Marital Settlement Agreements are Complete Resolutions of the Divorce

Parties can include all of the issues presented by their divorce inside the settlement agreement. As long as none of the provisions violate existing law and the agreement is not obtained by fraud or duress, it will be considered a valid agreement that can be incorporated into a Final Judgment of Divorce.  The settlement agreement can resolve all disputes relative to:

  • Assets (marital residence, investments, automobiles, etc.)
  • Liabilities (mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, etc.)
  • Alimony
  • Child Support
  • Parenting Plans
  • Time-sharing Arrangements

Experienced Family Law and Divorce Attorneys

Although marital settlement agreements are typically less complicated than divorce litigation, they are complex documents with numerous issues to address, such as tax repercussions and estate planning issues, that require advice of an experienced domestic relations attorney. Consult a experienced Florida family law attorney to determine whether a settlement agreement is the right option for you in your dissolution of marriage case.


Andrew D. Wheeer is a family law, elder law and appellate attorney, and the founder of The Wheeler Firm, PA. Andrew only take cases in those practice areas in order to focus on those special areas of the law. With offices in Fort Walton Beach and Miramar Beach, Andrew represents clients throughout Okaloosa and Walton counties, and has represented more than 2,000 clients over the course of the past 15 years. Andrew attended the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, and graduated with a Juris Doctorate of law in 2002. While attending law school, Andrew was active in numerous legal writing opportunities, won awards for legal writing and was selected as a member of the Cumberland Law Review. Andrew was then accepted to the Cumberland Study Abroad Program and attended Durham University in Durham, England. Andrew also worked as a research assistant and intern for Chief Magistrate Judge John Ott in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Over the next 15 years, Andrew represented thousands of clients in divorce, adoption, custody modification proceedings, child support contempt actions, probate litigation, and counseled clients on elder law rights, including long-term care planning and general estate planning. Andrew believes clients desire representation from attorneys who have a thorough understanding of their specific legal issues. Therefore, after beginning his career as a general practitioner, Andrew chose to focus his career on a few specific areas of law - those that affect the family. He continues to concentrate on those areas today. Andrew regularly interacts with the public by speaking to groups of people on family and elder law topics, including long-term care planning and techniques to avoid probate litigation. In 2012, Andrew began teaching seminars on adoption law through the National Business Institute, providing guidance to other attorneys on proper procedures to secure adoptions of children. Andrew is married to Regina Wheeler, with whom he has a son, and the family resides in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Andrew serves as President of the Destin Kiwanis Club and is active in the local chambers of commerce.

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