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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.
  • Pauline M. Calabrese, Esq.
  • Margo R. Epstein, Esq.
  • Leah D. Zawasky, Esq.
  • Danielle N. Santoro, Esq.
  • Elizabeth K. Eisenhauer, Esq.
  • Bethany L. Notaro, Esq. Bethany L. Notaro, Esq.
    Bethany@PaLegalServices.com Bethany L. Notaro, Esq. has her legal roots in Pennsylvania. As an undergraduate student, she ...
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  • Pauline M. Calabrese, Esq. Pauline M. Calabrese, Esq.
    Pauline@PaLegalServices.com Attorney Pauline M. Calabrese, Esq. has served in all the Court of Common Pleas divisions, where ...
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  • Margo R. Epstein, Esq. Margo R. Epstein, Esq.
    Margo@PaLegalServices.com Margo R. Epstein, Esq. is an attorney at Notaro Calabrese & Epstein - Divorce and Family Law ...
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  • Leah D. Zawasky, Esq. Leah D. Zawasky, Esq.

    Associate Attorney

    Leah@PaLegalServices.com Leah D. Zawasky, Esq. is an associate attorney who has successfully assisted clients with a variety ...
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  • Danielle N. Santoro, Esq. Danielle N. Santoro, Esq.

    Associate Attorney

    Danielle@PaLegalServices.com Danielle N. Santoro, Esq. is an associate attorney who has successfully assisted clients with a ...
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  • 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

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