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If information in the Final Judgment differs from that in the Confidential Marital Settlement Agreement, which takes precedence?

San Francisco, CA |

My divorce was finalized last month. In the Confidential MSA (initialled by both me and my ex-wife), it states that there is to be no spousal support paid and this is NON-modifiable, (has all the magic bells and whistles to make it non-modifiable), UNLESS one of us makes less than $200K per year. However, in the actual final judgment, signed by the judge and initialled by both of us, it states this amount to be $150K per year.

Can I be compelled to sign a one-page addendum to the attachment to the stipulated judgment changing it to $200K to be in accordance with the confidential MSA? Or does the final judgment take precedence?

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Attorney answers 1


Final Judgment takes precedence. However, a drafting mistake in the Final Judgment that does not reflect the MSA provision can always be corrected to reflect the intent of the parties. Was the $150K an error or an agreed to modification? Better to clarify it now while everyone seems to be in agreement than to have the issue come up years from now when memories have faded and emotions may be high.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.