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Property Settlement Agreements in Divorce - Keys to Settling Your Case Before Expensive Litigation

Jul 17, 2015 @ 12:37 PM — by Michael Green

Whether you wish to settle your divorce case before expensive litigation or intend to litigate hotly contested issues of your divorce, ultimately, unless you go to trial, you will need have drafted a property or matrimonial settlement agreement with all the terms of your divorce.  Attempting to fashion a divorce agreement prior to lengthy litigation may save you time, money and a great deal of emotional distress.  You may wish to talk to your spouse about proposed terms or draft the agreement in lieu of that conversation with the terms of your divorce and give a copy to your spouse to review with or without an attorney.  Putting together an agreement early on in the divorce process may get the parties talking early on and set the stage for an early settlement of your case.  Call Michael S. Green, Esq. at Green & Associates, divorce attorney and family law attorney, now to set up a free consultation regarding the drafting of your property or matrimonial settlement agreement at 732-390-0480 in our East Brunswick office or 201-242-1119 in our Fort Lee office.  We serve Middlesex, Bergen, Monmouth, Somerset, Mercer, Essex and Union counties.

The terms of a property or matrimonial settlement agreement include child custody, child support, alimony or spousal support, and equitable distribution.  Equitable distribution includes the division of property in an equitable manner, in a long term marriage, often that means a 50/50 split of the assets, however, the parties are free to do whatever they agree upon.  Retirement accounts such as 401ks, 403bs, annuities, IRAs and pensions must be considered as well.  Often these assets are divided by a QDRO, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which is drafted and signed by the Court and then sent to the entity which holds the account.  Tax deferred accounts are often split and the other half for the other spouse is rolled over into a rollover IRA for distribution.  An important issue in pensions includes survivorship benefits, so that if the party who is receiving the defined benefit dies before or during pay status, the other party still receives their share of the pension.  It may be thought of as an alternative to a life insurance policy on that party.  Certain pensions, such as state police and firemen pensions do not allow for survivorship benefits, in those instances, it may be necessary for the other spouse to obtain a life insurance policy to secure their interest in the pension.

Distributing the marital residence, jewelry, cars and other personal effects are also issues that must be dealt with in any property or matrimonial settlement agreement.  The mortgage or HELOC on a marital residence and other liens or encumbrances on the marital residence must generally be satisfied on any sale of the marital residence.  If one party wishes to keep the marital residence, they may have to refinance the marital residence mortgage or HELOCs out of the other party's name, so that going forward that party's credit is not encumbered by the mortgage or HELOC.  All of these issues must be considered when drafting a property or matrimonial settlement agreement.

Call us to let us help you draft your property or settlement agreement at 732-390-0480 or 201-242-1119.

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