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Financial Separation Prior to Divorce

New Brunswick, NJ |
Filed under: Divorce

My wife and I sign a separation agreement that includes financial and property settlement (with her lawyer and my lawyer). This agreement shall also contain alimony start date and alimony amount. We would then wait for months or even a year due to immigration reasons, before we file for divorce in the court.

Can the separation agreement be binding at the time of final divorce, or can it be disputed again?

Attorney Answers 4


The law favors settlements so except for very limited reasons, the separation agreement is binding and cannot be disputed at a later date. Exceptions exist where a fraud was committed in inducing the separation agreement say for example where one party lies about their assets or debts; where one party was unduly pressured to enter into the separation agreement through coercion or duress; or where one party lacked the capacity due to intoxication or mental illness to enter into the separation agreement.

The answers provided here are no substitute for proper legal advice tailored to your specific facts and circumstances. The opinions expressed here shall not be construed as legal advice or result in the creation of an attorney-client relationship. You are always advised to seek independent legal advice from an attorney of your choosing who can analyze the facts and circumstances of your case in more specific detail.

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Thanks for your comment. Does it mean that I could have an earlier alimony start date than the day the divorce is finally submitted in the court? Thanks once again.

Rosanne S. Detorres

Rosanne S. Detorres


The provisions of the agreement controls when the alimony begins. So if it says alimony will begin sooner then yes you should start receiving alimony before the actual divorce is finalized.


I agree (once again) with Roseanne's response.

Just suggest / add / stress -- There must be accurate disclosure before an agreement is signed. Each party must be aware of what they were "giving up" in entering the agreement. If that (along with sound / non-intoxicated mind, legal advice) are present, the court will generally enforce an agreement. It doesn't have to be "the best" or "the worst" agreement a party would have received after trial, it just needs to have been "knowing and voluntary."

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If the agreement was properly entered into, then it should be enforceable. Neither party an simple change their mind at this point, any changes would have to be the result of some sort of claim that either party acted improperly, failed to disclose assets, etc.

Good luck, and congratulations on resolving your case amicably.

Legal disclaimer: In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship

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The way you present it is probably binding in family court since it is voluntary and with counsel. To successfully dispute again in family court would be hard and unlikely to be successful. Not impossible mind you but unlikely and expensive to try ($15,000.00?)

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