The main goal of every divorce case is to reach an agreement with your spouse. A Marital Settlement Agreement, written and signed by both spouses, is a contract that defines the terms of their divorce. Depending on the issues in your case, the Marital Settlement Agreement must address a variety of issues.
First, custody and parenting time issues must be addressed if children are involved. The parties must identify if they are going to share joint legal custody. They must also designate the Parent of Primary Residence and the Parent of Alternate Residence. A parenting plan needs to be specific. This plan should include a regular schedule as well as a schedule for holidays, vacations and other school breaks. The Marital Settlement Agreement assures each parent’s continued right to access medical and health related records as well as school related records. Language is added to ensure each parent’s right to continue to be involved in the children’s school events and functions. This includes extracurricular activities and sporting events. Any special circumstance or issue surrounding the children should be addressed in the Agreement.
The Agreement must provide the amount to be paid and the duration of the payment, if alimony is involved in the settlement. Circumstances of when alimony is to end or be reviewed must be addressed. Provisions regarding modifiability or non-modifiability are also important elements to consider. The Agreement must include life insurance to secure the alimony.
The Agreement also must identify each and every asset and debt and allocate them. This includes real estate, mortgages, lines of credit, home equity loans, timeshares, investment property, credit cards, retirement assets, employment provided assets, student loans as well as ownership interests in a business.
Tax issues such as dependency deductions, tax credits, rebates and other tax considerations must be addressed.
Future participation in mediation in the event of a dispute or the involvement of a parent coordinator for custody and parenting time issues are standard clauses as well as an agreement that the breaching party pays for the non-breaching party’s counsel fees in the event of a breach and a resulting enforcement application to the Court.
The Marital Settlement Agreement is a very important document as it is the roadmap for your post-divorce life. Your Agreement must contain all issues that are crucial to you.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about this post or any other family law matter.
The Super Lawyers List is issued by Thompson Reuters. A description of the selection methodology can be found here. Visit here for the selection methodology for Best Lawyers. A description of the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® status selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.