What Won’t the Court Approve in a Divorce Settlement

Divorce is a very difficult time for everyone involved, including the spouses, their shared children, and even their extended family.  Divorce is notorious for lasting for months or even years, and reaching into many very personal areas of the parties’ lives.  A divorce trial can be expensive and emotionally exhausting, as the parties are required to discuss very intimate details in a public setting.  Luckily, there is a simple alternative to going to trial, which is to reach a settlement.  The vast majority of cases are settled before reaching a final hearing, including divorce cases.  Divorce settlements allow the parties to create a tailor made order that addresses the specific issues that are important to their families.  It also allows parties to incorporate creative or unusual provisions that a judge may be unwilling to include in a divorce decree.  There are, however, certain issues that a court will not be willing to approve in a divorce settlement.

One of the most common issues that parties want to include is a provision excluding any responsibility for child support.  However, this is not always acceptable to the court.  A court may refuse to enter a divorce settlement that states the non-custodial parent is released from child support, as child support is actually an obligation that the parent owes to the child; in other words, both parents have a duty to financially support the child, and a parent should not be allowed to waive a child’s right to receive this support.  This is especially true where the non-custodial parent has a much larger income than the custodial parent, or where the custodial parent will not be able to provide for the child in the absence of child support and will have to apply for state assistance.

Another time a court may refuse to approve a divorce settlement is where the provisions of the agreement are grossly unfair.  Parties are typically free to decide how they want to divide their assets and debts.  However, if the agreement states that one parties receives the lion’s share of the property and the other party walks away only with the responsibility of the marital debt, a court may refuse to enter the agreement without at least further inquiry into why the agreement was reached.

Finally, a court may refuse to enter an agreement that is not in a child’s best interest.  For example, if a court believes that one parent is a drug addict or violent, the court may refuse to enter a divorce order that provides that parent has primary custodial responsibility over the children, as the children may be placed in danger by such an agreement.

If you are facing a divorce, contact us today.  We can talk with you about your case and how we can help you reach an enforceable settlement.

Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation.

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