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What is an "MSA"?

MSA stands for Marriage Settlement Agreement, which is a contract that settles a divorce and contractually obligates a divorcing couple to such things as dividing property, custody, paying child support or alimony, or any other issue that may be addressed in a divorce contract. Contrary to popular belief, this information is usually NOT outlined in the divorce decree itself in PA - it is outlined in a separate document and may or may not be mentioned in the decree itself.

To get a divorce in PA, you need a few main things: The FIRST is to file a Complaint in Divorce and to follow through the process to eventually obtain a decree in divorce. The SECOND is an Order of Court or a Contract that dictates how you are going to handle all of the issues that came up with your divorce, such as dividing property, alimony, etc. This goes along with the decree in divorce.

Divorcing couples can decide what to put in an MSA (the contract) or an Order of Court either on their own, through a process such as mediation or collaborative law, through attorneys' negotiation, or by a Court through litigation and hearings or trial.

With our various bundled options, you will see that some include an MSA and some do not. It stands to reason that if a divorcing couple DOES NOT have joint property, separate property, or alimony issues, or any other issues to address in a contract, and if they agree to a divorce, that they might want to forego an MSA. You can get a divorce without an MSA. This is not the norm, and we find in most cases that an MSA is advisable.

The options that include an MSA are for clients who already know and who have figured out with their spouse what they want to put in an MSA. If the divorcing couple can't figure out what needs to go in the MSA, then they might want to consider mediation, or if that won't work, then these bundled options are not appropriate for the client.

However, you don't have to figure this out on your own. When you purchase a service and schedule an appointment with our staff, we will help you decide if the service will be appropriate for you, and we will make sure that whatever you choose fits your needs as you explain them to us.
  • Bethany L. Notaro, Esq.
  • Margo R. Epstein, Esq.
  • Leah D. Zawasky, Esq.
  • Danielle N. Santoro, Esq.
  • Elizabeth K. Eisenhauer, Esq.
  • Alyssa M. Drake, Esq
  • Christy Martin, CLC
  • Bethany L. Notaro, Esq. Bethany L. Notaro, Esq.
    Bethany L. Notaro, Esq. has her legal roots in Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate student, she attended the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology. After her undergraduate work, Bethany attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctorate. While in law school, Ms. Notaro received numerous scholarships and honors for her academic achievement and focused her studies on income taxation, trusts and estate, divorce, ADR, and wealth planning. Specifically, she received training in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and family law and professional divorce mediation.
    Bethany L. Notaro, Esq. Photo
  • Margo R. Epstein, Esq. Margo R. Epstein, Esq.
    Margo R. Epstein, Esq. is an attorney at Notaro Epstein Family Law Group, P.C. offering to her clients over a decade of ...
    Margo R. Epstein, Esq. Photo
  • Leah D. Zawasky, Esq. Leah D. Zawasky, Esq.

    Associate Attorney

    Leah D. Zawasky, Esq. is an associate attorney who has successfully assisted clients with a variety of family law matters ...
    Leah D. Zawasky, Esq. Photo
  • Danielle N. Santoro, Esq. Danielle N. Santoro, Esq.

    Associate Attorney

    Danielle N. Santoro, Esq. is an associate attorney who has successfully assisted clients with a variety of family law matters ...
    Danielle N.  Santoro, Esq. Photo
  • Elizabeth K. Eisenhauer, Esq. Elizabeth K. Eisenhauer, Esq.

    Associate Attorney

    Elizabeth K. Eisenhauer, Esq. is an associate attorney who has successfully assisted clients with a variety of family law ...
    Elizabeth K. Eisenhauer, Esq. Photo
  • Alyssa M. Drake, Esq Alyssa M. Drake, Esq

    Associate Attorney

    Alyssa’s experience in family law and background in juvenile law has shaped her into a passionate and dedicated advocate. While at Notaro Epstein, Alyssa continues to serve the needs of children by volunteering as a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem in complex custody cases. Her past and current experiences in navigating complex, emotional legal matters is what allows her to help her clients through the legal process with both compassion and persistence.
    Alyssa M. Drake, Esq Photo
  • Christy Martin, CLC Christy Martin, CLC

    Certified Life Coach

    Christy is a former professional ballet dancer with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Point Park University. ...
    Christy  Martin, CLC Photo

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  • “Notaro Epstein Family Law Group, P.C. has been with me every step of the way, helping me through a very emotional and complex case ...”

    - Former Client
  • “They turned something that could have been awful and complicated into a completely different experience.”

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