Common Questions Series: We settled! Now what?

The hard part in any divorce is reaching a settlement on all issues. Once you have resolved all issues, it’s important to memorialize the agreement in a formal settlement agreement. That means having a Marital Settlement Agreement in writing. But what do you do once you have that?

There are two avenues to divorce once you file a Complaint for Divorce with a signed settlement agreement:

  1. Your spouse can acknowledge service of the Complaint for Divorce and sign a Certification consenting to entry of a Judgment of Divorce.
  1. Your spouse can do nothing, in which case, you still have to serve him/her with a Complaint for Divorce, provide an Affidavit of Service to the court, and then request that a Default be scheduled, at which time the settlement agreement will be entered.

If it seems like option #2 is more complicated, it’s because it is. The primary difference in these two scenarios is that the other party is cooperating with the process in #1 whereas in #2, you’re doing it without him/her. It’s much faster and easier if you have some level of cooperation from the other party, not just when you are entering into a settlement agreement, but also when you are filing the pleadings necessary to obtain a Judgment of Divorce. These two scenarios are completely different processes. One is collaborative and one is a default, which means only one party is involved.

We see many clients who come to us with a signed settlement agreement believing they are done, only to realize they still have more work to do to dissolve the marriage. Sometimes they still have the cooperation of the other spouse and sometimes they don’t.

We are accustomed to handling both of these scenarios. The paperwork is just a formality, but if you’ve never done it before, it can be overwhelming. Let us help you. We’ve done this before. We’ve got you covered. Schedule your Client Vision Meeting to find out more.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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