Protecting Your Property Rights during a New Jersey Divorce

Splitting the houseWhen your marriage has failed, one of the most complicated procedures can be the division of marital debts and assets. You may have property that you owned free and clear before the marriage, or that you had made significant payments on before you got married. There may be disputes about retirement plans or credit card bills. One of the best things you can do to protect your interests and avoid endless battles is negotiate and sign a marital separation agreement, also known as a property settlement agreement.

A marital separation agreement is a legally binding contract that addresses the key issues of your divorce, including custody and spousal support issues, as well as the division of debts and assets. You can prepare and sign the agreement before you file for divorce, if you want, but for most people, it’s part of the divorce process. It’s important to understand that there is no requirement that you file the agreement with the court for it to have legal effect.

A property settlement agreement is not necessary to get a divorce, but it will make the process much simpler. There may be circumstances, though, where you simply don’t need a property settlement agreement—for example, if you have no home or significant joint assets, no debt and no children, there’s really no need.

Because the agreement is a legally binding contract, it will remain in effect until modified, either by mutual agreement of the parties, by court order, or if the purposes of the agreement are no longer legitimate. When you file the agreement with the court, the court may, in its discretion, review it to determine whether it is fair to both parties. As a practical matter, though, courts rarely do, unless there have been allegations of domestic violence.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to men and women throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-234-2233.