Marital Settlement Agreements
A marital settlement agreement (also known as a property settlement agreement), is a document that outlines all the terms of divorce as agreed upon by the divorcing parties. This document is signed by both parties and becomes a legally binding contract. In New Jersey, this document is attached directly to the divorce judgment by the court and becomes a part of the divorce judgment. This sort of agreement can be the result of a mediation, the result of a couple trying to stay out of court entirely, or as the result of a couple who has begun the court process but wants to settle out of court.
Do I Need an Attorney to Enter a Marital Settlement Agreement?
It is important to have an attorney on your side when entering into a marital settlement agreement. Although it is possible to draft and sign a marital settlement agreement without an attorney involved, the involvement of an attorney is essential to ensure that your interests and rights are protected. A marital settlement agreement is entered into as an alternative to going to court.
If you enter into a marital settlement agreement, it is legally binding and waives your right to a trial where a judge can hear testimony and decide on issues presented to the court. The language of this document can have serious and long-lasting legal consequences. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney will be able to understand the legal consequences of subtle wording that a non-attorney may not realize has a legally significant impact. Therefore it is critical that you have an experienced divorce attorney representing you to protect your rights when entering into a marital settlement agreement.
The only way to ensure that your rights are protected in a marital settlement agreement is to have an experienced attorney draft and review the agreement for you. If the other party has already gotten an attorney to draft an agreement, it is critical that you have your own attorney to review it and request modifications if needed to protect your interests. Union, New Jersey divorce attorney John B. D’Alessandro has experience representing people who are going through divorce. He has the experience and knowledge you need on your side when entering into a marital settlement agreement. Contact John B. D’Alessandro, an experienced attorney who can ensure that your rights are protected.
What is Included in a Marital Settlement Agreement?
The agreement can cover anything that is involved in a divorce. This includes the division of your property, alimony (spousal financial support), and child custody and visitations. Child support is regulated by the state and must follow the state guidelines. The court will require a child support guidelines worksheet to be attached. If the child support agreed upon deviates from these guidelines, the court will require a valid reason for the deviation and may or may not approve it.
Will the Court Review the Terms of the Agreement?
If the couple has no children together and neither spouse has waived alimony, the court will not do an in-depth review of the agreement to ensure that it is fair to both parties. If the couple has children together, the court will want to review the child support guidelines worksheet and ensure that the children’s rights are protected. If there is a spouse waiving alimony, the court will want to review the agreement and investigate if the party giving up their right to support is doing so under fair circumstances. The court will not do an in-depth review of the whole agreement to ensure it is fair. Therefore, it is very important to have an attorney who drafts and/or reviews a marital settlement agreement to make sure that your rights are protected and that you are getting a fair agreement.
Contact John B. D’Alessandro Today for Experienced Legal Representation to Help You Draft and Review a Marital Settlement Agreement
You need an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you through this difficult time and ensure your rights are protected. In Union, Essex or Middlesex counties, please contact the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro in Union for help today.