A settlement made between the parties to a marriage. A settlement made before the marriage ceremony is called an antenuptial settlement; that made after the marriage is a postnuptial settlement. The purpose of a marriage settlement is to provide an income for one spouse or the children, while securing the capital for the other spouse. The courts have power when giving decrees of divorce, nullity, or judicial separation either to order property owned by one spouse to be settled for the benefit of the other spouse and children or to vary the terms of any existing ante- or postnuptial settlement. This power is often used to retain the use of the matrimonial home until the children are independent, as well as to retain the parents' financial investment.