Divorce Settlement Agreement a.k.a. Marital Dissolution Agreement or “MDA”

In Tennessee, the divorce settlement agreement is called the marital dissolution agreement or “MDA.”  The MDA contains grounds for divorce, property division and distribution, alimony, and other agreed upon terms. 

Tennessee Divorce Settlement Agreement | Marital Dissolution Agreement or "MDA"

Tennessee Divorce Settlement Agreement | Marital Dissolution Agreement or “MDA”

“Divorce Settlement Agreement” or “Divorce Papers” Are Called a Marital Dissolution Agreement or Property Settlement Agreement

Your Memphis, Tennessee divorce lawyer will help you address and solve foreseeable problems in the Marital Dissolution Agreement (MDA). In some parts of the country and state, it may be referred to as the “Property Settlement Agreement.” Some possible situations, though, cannot be addressed an MDA. There is no such thing as a “standard divorce.” Going back to court to resolve a dispute is costly and painful, especially if it could have been addressed at the time of the divorce. For a divorcing couple with children, the other important court pleading is the permanent parenting plan, which lists all details for the children’s residential and holiday schedule, child support, and decision-making authority. For every case, great care must go into its negotiation and drafting. Below are described some of the important areas that can be addressed in an MDA.

Tennessee Alimony

Pay attention to the tax treatment of each form of alimony, type of alimony, requirements for modification and termination, and other details in addition to the amount and length of payments to be made.

Related Link: Tennessee Alimony FAQs


Include a provision that gives you as much protection as possible in the event your spouse declares bankruptcy.

Business Valuations and Complex Financial Problems in Divorce

Who will own the business and be liable for its debts?  You must also make sure that all required documents will be executed properly and timely.

Related Link: Business Valuation in Tennessee Divorce

Primary Residential Parent (Custody) and Residential Time is Addressed in a Tennessee Permanent Parenting Plan

The more detailed the terms of the agreement, the better it will work for both parties. (Included in the permanent parenting plan.)

Related Link: Tennessee Visitation and Residential Time

Child Support

How much and when are the payments due? Who has the right to the dependency exemption and credits? (Included in the permanent parenting plan.)

Related Link: Tennessee Child Support FAQs

Debt and Credit Cards

Future credit worthiness is very important. Protect against loss of good credit by good planning today. Do not let the soon-to-be ex-spouse run around town running up your credit cards. Run your own credit report to find out if there are any credit cards in your name of which you are unfamiliar. List all details about future responsibility.  See Dividing Debt in a Divorce | Tennessee Debt Division Law.

Educational Trusts

A few thousand dollars down and a hundred or so dollars a month in a mutual fund over ten years will go a long way to make sure a child gets a college education. Once in place, grandparents may even contribute to a college educational trust. (Included in the permanent parenting plan.)  See College Tuition & Costs in Tennessee Child Support Laws.

Health Insurance

Very important. Learn about your health insurance COBRA rights and obligations as soon as possible. To continue your health insurance through your spouse’s employer, notice of the divorce must be provided within a certain time frame. Learn all of the particular requirements. Deadlines are subject to change as laws and insurance policies changes. Certain forms may be required. Obtain them. If you have any questions, ask your attorney for assistance and advice.

Related Link: Continuing Health Insurance Coverage

Attorney’s Fees and Court Costs

Who pays how much?

Related Link: Attorneys Fees

Life Insurance

Consider at least $250,000 per child for each divorcing parent. College is expensive. Life insurance can also insure future alimony payments.

Personal Property and Listing of Separate Property

Most often, the parties will divide the property in advance or list how assets are to be divided.

Related Link: Property Division FAQs

Real Estate

If you do not keep the house, you will not want to be potentially liable for mortgage payments on it five years from now in the event your spouse chooses not to pay his or her obligations.

Retirement Investments

The terms of the Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) ave very important.  Depending on the type of asset, the division can either be very simple or very complex. Often, retirement investments are the largest assets to be divided. Valuation is the key. Even though a monthly pension benefit statement states that accrued benefits are a certain amount, the valuation of the pension benefits for purposes of the divorce may be much greater. Tax implications are also very important. See Division and Valuation of Pension Interests in Tennessee Divorces.


Who pays what and when?

Related Link: Taxes and Divorce Law

Wills and Trusts

Be careful that you do not die five days after your spouse remarries and a trust you created ten years ago pays for the honeymoon because you did not amend your trusts.

Related Link: Wills and Trusts

References, Resources and More:



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