I have been married for three years. I am concerned about protecting my pension and the house that I purchased prior to our marriage. Will a judge accept a financial settlement that does not equally divide these assets if both parties consent?
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Absolutely. If the parties agree to an unequal division of property it is highly unlikely that the court will reject the agreement. In the situation where you and your spouse cannot agree, you have a pretty good argument that the marital estate (all property not received as a gift or inheritance either before or during marriage) should not be divided equally given the length of marriage. There are quite a few factors to consider in rebutting the general presumption of equal division. You should speak to an experienced family law attorney in your area. Hope this helps.
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Family Law Attorney
I think that a judge would likely approve such an agreement. Be prepared to prove that the assets were obtained/accrued prior to the marriage and that that is your basis for agreeing to a deviation from the presumption of equal division.
Criminal Defense Attorney
In short, I'd echo Attorney Pasquale's answer, but with a tiny clarification: If the parties agree to an unequal division of property it is highly unlikely that the court will reject the agreement assuming that the Court is convinced both sides know what they're doing and weren't forced into it. Generally speaking, courts care that a settlement agreement is entered into voluntarily and that one side isn't forcing a settlement or pulling a fast one on the other side; they don't care as much who gets what. The way they see it, if someone chooses to agree to an uneven deal knowingly and intelligently, it's their own fault for doing it. Plus, who's to say what is and isn't "equal value" in a division, particularly since the "value" could be measured financially or emotionally?
You should definitely work on this with an attorney, if you don't already have one. If you pick one who practices regularly in the family courts in your county, he or she will probably have a good idea as to what your judge will and won't accept in a Marital Settlement Agreement. But if your soon-to-be-ex is OK with the division, it should pass muster with the court.