Need a Marital Property Settlement Lawyer in New Jersey?

Our family law attorneys can help you navigate the marital property settlement process.

Logo 888-815-3649
Marital Property Settlement Agreements in New Jersey

A marital property settlement agreement

Property division, or the division of money and other assets between two parties, is one of the major issues in a divorce in New Jersey. However, a contentious divorce battle could actually deplete the marital assets that are in dispute. A marital property settlement agreement can help prevent this by resolving property disputes quickly and without litigation.

A marital property settlement agreement that is signed by both parties is legally binding and can be enforced in court. Therefore, it is important to understand the legal nuances and financial consequences of any proposed agreement before signing it. An experienced family law attorney can help negotiate marital property in a settlement agreement and ensure that it is valid and protects their client’s interests.

Understanding Marital Property in NJ

Before drafting a marital property settlement agreement, it must be determined which assets are marital property and which are separate property. 

Assets that have been acquired legally while the couple was married are considered marital property. Assets acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage are considered separate property. Examples of marital property include: 

  • Joint bank accounts 
  • Homes or motor vehicles purchased during the marriage 
  • Portions of retirement plans that came from contributions during the marriage

Only marital property is included in a marital property settlement agreement; separate property goes to the spouse who initially acquired it.

Note that marital property is not necessarily divided equally. New Jersey is considered an “equitable distribution” state, which means courts divide marital property based on what they consider reasonable and fair. This does not necessarily entail a 50/50 split.

Key Elements of a Marital Property Settlement Agreement

All of the elements of a marital property settlement agreement must be carefully negotiated. Once signed by both parties, it is legally binding, and the court must integrate its terms into the final divorce decree. 

Only if both parties consent can a marital property settlement agreement be abandoned. In addition, a judge can reject an agreement if they find that some of the terms are inequitable.

There are several key elements of a marital property settlement agreement in New Jersey.

Asset and Debt Division

Property division laws in New Jersey require that certain aspects are considered when determining equitable distribution. Some of these considerations include:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age of each spouse
  • Physical and mental health of each spouse
  • Debts and liabilities
  • Standard of living achieved during marriage
  • Each spouse’s economic circumstances
  • Each party’s contribution to marital assets
  • Earning capacity of each party
  • Written agreements entered into before or during marriage
  • Any other factors deemed relevant by the court

Because marital assets are divided equitably and not necessarily equally, various arrangements can be made. For example:

  • One spouse may be given the family home, while the other spouse receives more of the assets in bank and investment accounts.
  • Marital debts can be assigned such that the spouse who is receiving more assets takes on more debt.
  • Contributions to and appreciation of retirement accounts and pensions during the marriage (as opposed to before) will be counted as marital property and equitably distributed. 


Alimony is a monetary payment that one spouse is required to pay periodically to the other after their divorce. This can be decided by the court or included in a marital property settlement agreement.

There are five types of alimony in New Jersey:

  • Temporary alimony: Paid by one spouse to the other while the final result of the divorce is pending. This alimony arrangement, also known as “pendente lite,” can be agreed to mutually by both parties or one party can file a motion with the court requesting temporary alimony.
  • Open duration alimony: When a court assigns spousal support without a specified end date. This is generally assigned for marriages that lasted more than 20 years.
  • Rehabilitative alimony: When a court assigns alimony for the purpose of giving the receiving spouse time to attain skills, training, or education needed for financial independence.
  • Limited-duration alimony: Common for short-lived marriages where rehabilitative or permanent alimony would not be appropriate. 
  • Reimbursement alimony: Used if one spouse supported the other while he or she obtained advanced education. In this arrangement, the judge assigns reimbursement alimony aimed at enabling the receiving spouse to gain the expected benefit of that education.

Child Custody and Support

The main legal standard in New Jersey for determining child custody is the best interests of the child. The court will also take into consideration, when appropriate, the interests of the parents. Some factors in custody arrangements include:

  • The fitness of the parents 
  • The stability of the home environment 
  • The parent’s employment obligations 
  • The geographical proximity of the parents’ home

Child custody arrangements can include sole custody, which is when the child lives only with one parent, but visitation rights can be afforded to the other parent. Alternatively, child custody can be shared, meaning the child will live part time with each parent.

New Jersey courts calculate child support payments using the Income Shares Method. This formula determines the percentage each parent contributes to the couple’s combined income, and then uses that percentage to assign how much financial support for caring for the child must be contributed by each parent. The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines will be used as guidelines when deciding child support.

The Role of an Attorney in Marital Property Settlement Agreements

When negotiating a marital property settlement agreement, an experienced divorce lawyer can:

  • Help with strategic planning and negotiations, with the aim of protecting assets and fostering financial security for their client. 
  • Maximize their client’s legal leverage in order to obtain concessions from the other party.
  • Look over the terms and language after the settlement agreement has been drafted. This will ensure the agreement is legally enforceable and that the client’s interests have been protected.

Mistakes to Avoid in Marital Property Settlement Agreements

Here are some common mistakes to avoid in marital property settlement agreements.

  • Underestimating the value of marital assets
  • Overlooking tax implications of dividing marital property 
  • Failing to account for future expenses and inflation when deciding which assets to seek.

An experienced divorce attorney can help avoid these and other mistakes that could result in a less than favorable agreement.


Is a marital property settlement agreement required?

No, there is no requirement for two divorcing spouses to mutually settle any divorce issues, including property division.

Do both parties have to sign the marital property agreement?

Yes, both parties have to sign the agreement for it to be legally enforceable.

What happens if the other spouse breaks a marital property settlement agreement?

If the other party tries to back out of an agreement signed by both spouses, one has the option of submitting the agreement to the court in order to enforce it. The judge will incorporate the terms of the agreement into the final divorce settlement. Modifications can also be made if a party no longer agrees with the settlement agreement.

Does the court have to approve a marital property settlement agreement?

Eventually the court will have to approve the final terms of a divorce whether there is a signed agreement or not. If the judge finds the marital property settlement agreement to be not equitable the court may reject the agreement.

How long does a marital property settlement agreement last?

The agreement is generally meant to be in effect for many years, however the two parties do have the option of modifying the agreement due to changing circumstances if both parties agree on the changes. 

Call a Rosenblum Law Divorce Attorney for Your Marital Property Settlement Agreement

Marital property settlement agreements can impact many aspects of your life post-divorce, and the implications of the terms of the agreement can be long-lasting. This is why it is a good idea to consult an attorney who is knowledgeable about divorce law and has experience in dealing with property division issues. 

An experienced attorney from Rosenblum Law will work with you to ensure your rights and needs are upheld in a final marital property settlement agreement. Do not hesitate to contact us now for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. We have flexible scheduling options to accommodate your needs.

A marital property settlement agreement
Call Us
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap