Marital Settlement Agreements
Resolving the issues related to a divorce can be emotional, time-consuming, and expensive. However, if the spouses can work together to reach an agreement, they can enter a Marital Settlement Agreement or “MSA” and avoid the courtroom.
Arons & Solomon, P.A. has been helping couples prepare marital settlement agreements for decades. Our Bergen County divorce attorneys have helped countless couples achieve satisfactory resolutions to their most pressing legal issues. Contact us today for a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
How Can Arons & Solomon, P.A. Help You With Your Divorce in New Jersey?
When people think of divorce, they usually think of a bitter, no-holds-barred court battle. However, most divorce cases in New Jersey are resolved through settlement rather than litigation. Generally, spouses negotiate the terms of a Marital Settlement Agreement with the assistance of their divorce lawyers. An MSA can avoid many of the “messy” issues that arise during a contested divorce trial.
Our Bergen County family law attorneys at Arons & Solomon, P.A. have over 150 years of combined experience with New Jersey divorce. We strive to make your divorce process as smooth as possible.
You can count on our law firm to:
- Listen to your priorities and goals for divorce
- Identify and evaluate all marital assets eligible for distribution
- Work to get your preferred custody arrangement
- Negotiate a favorable marital settlement with your spouse and their attorney
Contact our law firm today to get attorneys who will fight to get you the results you deserve. Our Bergen County divorce attorneys offer free consultations.
What is Included in a Marital Settlement Agreement?
Your individual needs at the time of your divorce dictate the terms covered by your Marital Settlement Agreement.
Issues that may be addressed in an MSA include:
- Matters related to your children, including child custody, parenting plans, visitation schedules, and child support obligations
- Spousal support, including the amount and duration of alimony payments
- Financial matters, including property division, tax-related issues, attorneys’ fees, expert fees, etc.
- Other matters related to your divorce, including pet custody, inheritance issues, business interests, college expenses for children, etc.
The MSA should address all issues that arise because of your divorce. No two MSAs are alike, and the form of the agreement will depend on your unique situation.
Do Courts Enforce Marital Settlement Agreements in New Jersey?
Yes, the terms and conditions of your MSA can be enforced by New Jersey courts. A written and signed MSA is binding on both parties.
However, you need to be as specific as possible when drafting the terms of the MSA. Ambiguities could result in a portion of the agreement being invalid. An agreement should include a method for resolving future disagreements to avoid litigation.
Can a Marital Settlement Agreement Be Voided or Modified?
Suppose a party signed a Marital Settlement Agreement under duress or because of threats or coercion. In this case, the judge might invalidate the entire agreement. The parties must enter into the MSA voluntarily for the terms of the agreement to be enforceable by the court.
Parties sometimes desire to modify or change the terms of a Marital Settlement Agreement. However, both parties must agree to the modifications. Otherwise, a party must file a motion with the court asking for a modification.
The court only grants modifications if the party can show a change in circumstances to justify modifying the MSA terms.
What is the Difference Between a Marital Settlement Agreement and a Separation Agreement?
An MSA is negotiated as part of a divorce settlement or collaborative divorce. The spouses use the agreement to resolve issues related to ending their marriage.
A separation agreement does not end the marriage. Couples may enter a separation agreement to resolve issues that would typically be decided in a divorce action. However, the parties do not wish to end their marriage.
A separation agreement may be used to clarify issues while the parties pursue marriage counseling. For example, the separation agreement allows the couple to “freeze” assets and debts, resolve issues related to children, and specify how the couple will handle marital debts during the separation.
Separation agreements may be binding under contract law, even though they are not filed with the court. However, you should consult with a separation attorney to ensure that the agreement is legally binding.
What Are the Benefits of Entering a Marital Settlement Agreement?
The benefit of Marital Settlement Agreements is that parties can decide the terms of their divorce without court interference. Instead of allowing a judge to decide how you split your time with your child, you and your partner can develop a parenting plan in everyone’s best interest. Just remember, the court can modify the terms of the agreement if it determines that the terms are not in a child’s best interest.
Negotiating a Marital Settlement Agreement saves time and money. In addition, you may help preserve a positive relationship with your partner if the two of you do not “battle it out” in a contested divorce case. A Marital Settlement Agreement also provides more flexibility to settle the terms of your divorce.
Contact Our Bergen County Divorce Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Are you contemplating a divorce? If so, it is wise to get legal advice before you take any steps that could impact your future and your children’s futures.
At Arons & Solomon, P.A., we have over 150 years of combined legal experience handling divorce cases and family law matters. Our legal team has the resources, skills, and knowledge to help you protect your best interest.
Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Bergen County divorce lawyers.