Property Settlement Agreements in New Jersey

                                      Establishing the conditions for your Divorce and laying out the framework for your relationship with your former spouse post-Divorce.

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                                      Property Settlement Agreements


                                      Marital & Property Settlement Agreements in New Jersey

                                      You'll need a Marital Settlement Agreement if you're getting divorced. A Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA), sometimes called a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) is a legal document used in New Jersey that lays out the conditions of a divorce and establishes a framework for former spouses' post-divorce relationships. MSAs are also known as Property Settlement Agreements in New Jersey. While many couples just have to worry about their marital assets and obligations, others, especially those with young children, need a more complete arrangement.

                                      Separation Agreements vs. Master Service Agreements

                                      Before making a final decision on divorce, some couples want to separate. An agreement may assist clarify financial, property, and parenting arrangements throughout the separation time in this kind of scenario.

                                      Anything that an MSA will ultimately cover may be addressed in a separation agreement, but the issues are typically somewhat different. If the spouses are not yet ready to split their assets and debts, the separation agreement may "freeze" assets and debts, prohibiting either spouse from selling an item or incurring more debt during the separation. The agreement may include how the couple will pay their mortgage, rent, and other household expenses throughout the separation, as well as what would happen if they do not reconcile within a certain time frame. A separation agreement, unlike a final Marital Settlement Agreement, is not filed with the court. It is, nevertheless, legally binding between the spouses if correctly completed, and may serve as the foundation for the final MSA.

                                      If you and your spouse want to create a separation agreement, our attorneys can help you make sure it's legal and will stand up in court. A formal separation agreement between you and your spouse, on the other hand, is only enforceable under fundamental contract law; the family court will not recognize it as an official file or enforce it as an order in your case.


                                      The Divorce Process in New Jersey and Marital Settlement Agreements

                                      In a disputed divorce, couples frequently spend a lot of time and money arguing over matters, only for a judge to make the ultimate choices. In an uncontested divorce, spouses have complete control over the outcome and avoid most of the time-consuming judicial procedure. Couples who choose for an uncontested divorce from the beginning may sign a written MSA before or shortly after filing for divorce.

                                      Conversely, couples who begin a contentious divorce procedure may always negotiate an MSA and convert to an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce usually proceeds more quickly and with less animosity between former spouses, which is a win-win situation for everyone concerned, particularly for any children from the marriage.

                                      Putting Together a Divorce Settlement Agreement

                                      While couples may theoretically draft their own MSA/PSA, we'd recommend hiring a lawyer who can draft all or part of the Property Settlement Agreement who can ensure it's comprehensive and inclusive of the right terminology. One of our Divorce attorneys will go through the MSA with you and make sure you understand how it differs from what a court may order.

                                      However, you should keep in mind that you give up your right to a trial by signing an MSA and requesting a court to approve it. In a divorce, neither a court nor a mediator will represent your interests. Judges seldom read MSAs; instead, they depend on evidence to decide whether both parties freely consented to the provisions. A court does not give judgment on the agreement's merits, nor does he or she examine it for fairness, which is why an attorney should be involved.

                                      Putting a Marital Settlement Agreement into Effect

                                      In your written MSA, be sure to include any conditions and agreements reached with your former spouse that you want a court to be able to enforce. To avoid future disputes or lawsuits, make the terms as clear as possible.

                                      If you and your spouse get along well, it may be tempting to leave certain details to be worked out later, however any conditions that you do not include in your written agreement will not be enforced by the court. As much as possible, we'll want to make sure you've covered every conceivable scenario. You should also provide a mechanism for resolving any future disputes in your contract.

                                      The final MSA is legally binding between the parties after it is signed. It is often included into the final divorce decree, making it as enforceable as any other court order. It may also be combined or partly merged with the divorce decree, which has an impact on contract law enforceability.

                                      Changing a Marital Settlement Agreement's Terms

                                      If you and your spouse agree that a modification is necessary after your MSA has been filed with the court, you may modify it. If this is the case, you might consider going to mediation before filing a modification motion in court.

                                      If one of you disagrees, the other may file a request in court to modify the agreement. In the case of a significant change in circumstances, the court always maintains the right to alter conditions related to child custody and support. Unless the Property Settlement Agreement expressly says otherwise, terms related to spousal support are also changeable. However, except in the case of nondisclosure, provisions related to asset and debt distribution cannot generally be altered after the divorce is finalized. If you need to draft a Marital Settlement Agreement with your spouse or ex-spouse, our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers can ensure that your agreement fits your present requirements while also protecting your future interests.

                                      For a free and confidential consultation with one of our Divorce attorneys, contact us today at 800-709-1131 or fill out the form below.

                                      New Jersey Family Courts we appear in regularly:

                                      Bergen County 
                                      Justice Center, Room 119
                                      10 Main Street
                                      Hackensack, NJ 07601
                                      (201) 527-2300


                                      Essex County 
                                      Family Division Dissolution Unit
                                      Wilentz Justice Complex, Room 113
                                      212 Washington Street
                                      Newark, NJ 07102
                                      (973) 693-6710


                                      Family Division Non-Dissolution Unit
                                      Wilentz Justice Complex, Room 1365
                                      212 Washington Street
                                      Newark, NJ 07012
                                      (973) 693-5560 or (973) 693-5520


                                      Hudson County
                                      Family Intake Team
                                      Administration Bldg., Room 203
                                      595 Newark Avenue
                                      Jersey City, NJ 07306
                                      (201) 795-6777


                                      Hunterdon County 
                                      Family Case Management Office
                                      Hunterdon County Justice Center
                                      65 Park Avenue
                                      Flemington, NJ 08822
                                      (908) 237-5920


                                      Mercer County
                                      Family Case Management Office
                                      175 S. Broad St., 2nd Floor
                                      P.O. Box 8068
                                      Trenton, NJ 08650-0068
                                      (609) 571-4200


                                      Middlesex County
                                      Family Part Intake Reception Team
                                      Family Courthouse
                                      120 New St., Room 111
                                      P.O. Box 2691
                                      New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2691
                                      (732) 519-3242

                                      Monmouth County
                                      Family Part, Courthouse
                                      71 Monument Park
                                      P.O. Box 1252
                                      Freehold, NJ 07728-1252
                                      (732) 677-4050


                                      Morris County
                                      Morris County Family Division
                                      Morris County Courthouse Family Intake
                                      Washington and Court Streets
                                      P.O. Box 910
                                      Morristown, NJ 07963
                                      (973) 656-4000


                                      Somerset County
                                      Family Case Management Office
                                      Courthouse, 2nd Floor
                                      P.O. Box 3000
                                      Somerville, NJ 08876-1262
                                      (908) 231-7600


                                      Sussex County
                                      Sussex County Family Division
                                      Sussex County Judicial Center
                                      43-47 High Street
                                      Newton, NJ 07860
                                      (973) 579-0630


                                      Union County
                                      Dissolution Assignment Office
                                      New Annex Bldg.; Courthouse
                                      2 Broad Street
                                      Elizabeth, NJ 07207
                                      (908) 659-3314


                                      Warren County
                                      Family Division Dissolution Unit
                                      413 Second St.;
                                      P.O. Box 900
                                      Belvidere, NJ 07823-1500
                                      (908) 475-6150

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