Marital Settlement Agreement NJ: A Comprehensive Overview

A Marital Settlement Agreement in NJ is an essential component of many divorces. Learn more about this comprehensive divorce document here.

What Is a Marital Settlement Agreement in NJ Divorce Cases?

A Marital Settlement Agreement is required if you are divorcing in the state of New Jersey. A Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) is a legal document used in New Jersey that specifies divorce conditions and provides a framework for former spouses’ post-divorce relationships. MSAs are also known as Property Settlement Agreements in New Jersey.

Whereas many couples are just concerned with marital assets and obligations, others require a more complete agreement, particularly those with minor children. At Compassionate Divorce, we offer legal advice to amicable divorcing couples, helping them achieve the proper settlement agreement.

The divorce process is quite complex in itself, even without considering marital property. Contact us today if you need divorce mediation, divorce legal advice, divorce financial advice, or divorce counseling for an uncontested divorce in New Jersey.

New Jersey Marital Settlement Agreements and Divorce Process

Your Marital Settlement Agreement should include any or all of the following, depending on your specific requirements at the time of divorce:

  • Personal properties, bank and other accounts, insurance goods, tax concerns, and other financial information (assets and debts)
  • If applicable, alimony or spousal support may be considered.
  • Parenting and child custody, child support, and visitation, which are all time-sensitive issues
  • Any other significant and legally enforceable concerns arising from your divorce process

Family law attorneys understand exactly what clauses must be included in a Marital Settlement Agreement and how to include them effectively. We can produce your MSA from beginning to end or analyze your already written MSA and provide feedback on its quality.

Spouses typically spend a significant amount of time and money disputing matters in a contentious divorce, only to have a judge make the ultimate judgments. In an uncontested divorce, partners have complete control over the outcome and avoid most of the time-consuming judicial process. Couples who select an uncontested divorce procedure from the beginning might enter into a written MSA before or shortly after filing for divorce.

Couples who begin a disputed divorce procedure have the option of negotiating an MSA and switching to an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce usually proceeds more quickly and with less animosity involving former spouses, which benefits everyone involved, especially any children from the marriage.

Marital Settlement Agreement NJ Consent Order

Clients must be informed of and agree to the conditions to which they will be bound in the near and far future when it comes to mediation, divorce, civil union dissolution, child support, and custody, as well as alimony and spousal support.

A consent order or a property settlement agreement cannot be vacated in most cases, albeit each case is fact-specific. Many individuals may not realize that the terms of a settlement agreement or consent order are legally enforceable, and the court will enforce them appropriately. As a result, it is critical to speak with an experienced family law attorney to evaluate if your order can be changed or invalidated. The attorney-client relationship is very valuable.

According to New Jersey law, if both parties willingly agreed to a consent order or settlement agreement related to their divorce, free of coercion or pressure, and the arrangement is not absurd, the court shall uphold the order.

A family court will alter or revoke a voluntary agreement only if one’s attorney can offer fresh evidence that was available to both parties at the time the respective clients signed the consent order. If not, a judge will dismiss an appeal of a freely consented-to order.

Marital Settlement Agreement Form NJ

A spouse in New Jersey can seek a no-fault divorce for one of two reasons: separation or irreconcilable differences. To petition for divorce on the basis of separation, the pair must have resided in the state for twelve months and in separate houses for eighteen months before filing.

The same twelve-month requirement applies to divorces based on irreconcilable differences. The couple must have experienced irreconcilable differences in their marriage for at least six months before commencing a divorce. To initiate the divorce case, one of the spouses (referred to as the “plaintiff”) must file a complaint with the court.

When Do I File the Marital Settlement Agreement for an NJ No-Fault Divorce?

Although a Marital Settlement Agreement is not a court-mandated contract, it can assist a divorced spouse in avoiding unnecessary time and money spent in court.

This agreement can be signed by the couple, with or without the assistance of solicitors, giving them more control over their uncontested divorce proceedings. A marriage settlement agreement can be made before or after the couple files for divorce with the court.

Does a Marital Settlement Agreement Need to Be Notarized in NJ?

When the individuals involved are still legally married yet live apart, they enter into a separation. However, in New Jersey, there is no such thing as “legal separation” for married couples.

To be legally recognized, they must have a document made up that confirms the rights and obligations required of them in areas such as child custody, child support, alimony, debt apportionment, and marital property and asset split. The document is usually a New Jersey Marital Settlement Agreement that will be incorporated into a Divorce Judgment.

Both parties must sign and have the legal separation agreement notarized for it to be legitimate. A divorce precedes most legal separation cases, but because a legal separation may be handled mainly without the court’s consent, many people opt to engage in Marital Settlement Agreements prior to filing for divorce to expedite the divorce process when it occurs.

If you need help and counseling with your divorce process, do not hesitate to contact our law firm, Compassionate Divorce. We offer divorce mediation, divorce legal advice, divorce financial advice, and divorce counseling in New Jersey. Don’t let yourself be alone in this complicated matter, and seek the proper family law advice on your side.

FAQs About Marital Separation Agreements in New Jersey

Marital Separation Agreements are complex, so it’s natural to have questions. We answer a few of these common questions below. If you need further assistance, we encourage you to reach out to our firm for a free consultation.

Is There a Significant Distinction Between Divorce and Separation?

Separation does not end a marriage; an absolute divorce (divorce from the tie of matrimony) does. Separation procedures in New Jersey are comparable to absolute divorce procedures. 

What Exactly Is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a formal contract between two spouses. Its conditions are legally enforceable on both spouses once signed and notarized. (This is essentially a formal separation.) The agreement’s objective is to discuss and settle all of the issues that might emerge in a typical divorce dispute. Custody and visitation (parenting time), child support, alimony (spousal support), and marital property partition are examples of such issues.

The agreement’s allure allows you to achieve your separation aims without involving the courts. This saves both time (court matters tend to drag out) and money, notably attorneys’ fees, which may quickly add up in court proceedings.

What Exactly Is a Trial Separation?

A “trial separation” is an informal agreement between couples to live apart. Couples may choose this option if they want to analyze their marital condition but wish to do so in a setting that removes some of the strain of living together. There is no explicit provision in the law for a trial separation. It’s a chosen step, and the couple is responsible for establishing the ground rules.