What do courts check in marital property settlements?
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What do courts check in marital property settlements?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Property Division |

Courts allow divorcing spouses to agree on the division of their properties and debts through a marital settlement agreement. The approach allows parties to have control over the division and discuss the details among themselves instead of having the judge decide for them. This contract, however, is not enforceable until it undergoes the court’s review and approval.

What exactly do courts check when they receive a marital property settlement agreement for review?

Under the judge’s magnifying glass

When courts review marital property settlement agreements, they typically assess the following to ensure the agreement is fair and equitable for both parties:

  • Compliance with the laws: The agreement must comply with local, state and federal laws. Courts will not enforce provisions that are illegal or go against public policy.
  • Voluntariness: The court will check if both parties entered the contract voluntarily, without coercion, duress or undue influence.
  • Proper disclosure: In a divorce property division, both parties must fully disclose their assets and liabilities for division to be fair. If a party later discovers that the other hid assets or lied about their financial situation, the former may challenge the settlement agreement.
  • No unconscionable provisions: The court will review the settlement to ensure that it is fair and not one-sided. Even if both parties agree, a court may intervene if the settlement includes terms that are extremely unjust.

If the court finds issues with any of these aspects, it may reject the settlement agreement or require modifications before granting approval.

Ensuring a smooth settlement

If you are going through divorce and choose to settle the property division terms with your ex, it is advisable to consult with a family law attorney who can provide guidance tailored to your situation. This helps you ensure you are complying with the law and protecting your rights and interests.