A divorce settlement agreement, also referred to as a ‘marital settlement agreement’ or ‘property settlement agreement’, is a legal document specifying the terms of a divorce. The agreement reduces to writing all of the issues the divorcing couple has agreed to. By entering into a settlement agreement in a New Jersey divorce case, the parties avoid a lengthy and costly trial.
What Issues Does A New Jersey Divorce Settlement Agreement Cover?
Most of the issues relating to a divorce can be settled in a Divorce Settlement Agreement.
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Parenting Time and Visitation
- Division of Assets
- Division of debt and credit, household items, property, and valuables
I Don’t Want To Compromise! Why Not Go To Trial?
Compromising with a former spouse is difficult, as any divorced person knows. But compromising often leaves both parties in a better position than fighting out all of their issues in court. Many issues relating to money, property, and children can be resolved through the settlement process. Going to court is a lengthy and costly process that many divorcing couples wish to avoid. Often the reason a party wishes to go to trial is money related, but the cost of going to trial is usually much more expensive than settling. Not satisfied that a settlement is in your best interest? Make sure you speak with a matrimonial attorney to determine whether trial is the right move in your particular case.
When Do I Need To Have The NJ Divorce Settlement Agreement Finished?
There is no set time for the Divorce Settlement Agreement to be finished. Some spouses finish it very early in the divorce process–sometimes before they have even filed for divorce, while other take months to complete it.
Do I Need A Lawyer to Draft a New Jersey Divorce Agreement?
Yes. Even for spouses who can agree among themselves to the division of property in their divorce, an experienced lawyer should draft the settlement agreement since it requires the use of specific language to be in compliance with New Jersey law.
What Happens With The Finalized NJ Divorce Agreement?
Once the parties reach a final agreement, the attorneys will draft a final version of the settlement document. Each party will then sign the document and the agreement will be submitted to the court and reviewed by a judge. The agreement then becomes part of the final judgment of divorce.
Is A New Jersey Divorce Settlement Agreement Legally Binding?
Yes. Once finalized and accepted by a judge, the settlement agreement is legally binding. It may help to think of the settlement agreement like any other contract you enter into: both parties are obligated to fulfill the terms of the agreement. A divorce that is settled in this manner has the same effect as a divorce that is settled by the court. Only a small number of divorce cases actually go to trial, most are settled without going to court.
How Do I Ensure The Settlement Is Fair?
To ensure that the Divorce Settlement Agreement is fair, the lawyers for each party will negotiate the terms of the agreement. For child support issues, the lawyers will use New Jersey Child Support Guidelines to determine the level of support needed in your individual case, the same way a judge would. For other property issues, New Jersey requires equitable distribution of marital assets, which means a fair division of property. There is room to negotiate which party gets which assets. A typical settlement agreement may go through several drafts before the final terms are agreed upon.
If you need assistance with your NJ divorce, or require assistance with a divorce settlement agreement, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen for a free initial consultation at 201-845-7400.