What is the difference between my “Judgment” and “Marital Settlement Agreement” at the end of my divorce?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image2471912A consent judgment differs from a settlement agreement, yet contains similarities.  A settlement agreement outlines details of an agreement reached between two parties whereas a consent judgment is a court order by a judge.

A settlement agreement is used when two parties settle on an issue.  The agreement outlines details of their agreement and is very common in divorces.  A judge issues a consent judgement based on an agreement between parties in a lawsuit.  The parties typically reach an agreement between themselves or with the use of their attorneys and present it to the judge.  The judge issues the consent judgment, which makes the decision and settlement agreement final and enforceable by law.

At the final stage of most divorce cases there is a prove-up, this is when the parties go before the judge and present their settlement agreement to the judge and ask the judge to grant them a judgement for dissolution of marriage. Usually the attorneys or the judge will ask the parties, whether they are asking the court to incorporate their signed marital settlement agreement into their judgment for dissolution of marriage and if they understand that by incorporating the marital settlement agreement it will be as binding on them as any other order of the court.  So until the court/judge incorporates the marital settlement agreement into the judgment it really lacks any power or enforceability.


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