Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Important matters to consider before signing a divorce settlement

Getting married is a joyous occasion which marks a new life for two people in love. Very few people contemplate divorce while planning their wedding. Unfortunately many New Jersey couples do end up in divorce court eventually.

When a couple does decide to part ways, it is advisable to try and reach an amicable settlement on a variety of matters. The agreement reached between the parties is documented in a formal  divorce settlement. It is important to scrutinize the document and not just sign it impulsively because of a haste to get out of the relationship.

Most of the aspects dealt with in a divorce settlement relate to finances, and signing it too quickly can have serious consequences monetarily. The question is -- what should one look out for? First, when joint tax returns have been filed, both spouses are held responsible should an IRS audit discover unpaid taxes. It may be advisable to obtain professional help in evaluating how correctly your taxes were filed.

Second, remember that it is very easy to underestimate what it will cost to live on one's own while maintaining the same standard of living. It is advisable to complete a detailed budget in order to get a precise picture of what is needed. Third, it is advised that available computer software be used to assist in considering a variety of possible financial scenarios in order to make an informed decision on a settlement proposed. Finally, it is important to consider the fact that taxes may be due on some monies received from a divorce settlement. This could substantially decrease the net amount received, particularly in cases where a settlement is paid as a lump sum.

Divorce proceedings are complicated.  It simply makes good sense to consult with a New Jersey family law attorney. Safeguarding one's best interests can be difficult when experiencing emotional turmoil, and a lawyer can help ensure that a fair and comprehensive agreement is achieved.

Source:, "Prenuptial Agreements and Divorce Settlements", Jodee Redmond, Accessed on Jan. 02, 2017

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