Approaching the one year separation date. Have Custody Agreement, but Financial Settlement is still being negotiated. Are we required to have the Financial Settlement completed before filing for divorce at 1 year and 1 day? Thanks.
No, you do not have to have the financial and property portion of your separation (equitable distribution) completed prior to the absolute divorce being filed or granted. The key thing to remember is that the claim for equitable distribution is filed with the court prior to the absolute divorce being granted. A party is barred from asking the court for an equitable distribution after the absolute divorce is granted. However, the absolute divorce judgment can preserve the equitable distribution claim for further hearing if it is not yet settled by the absolute divorce court date.
If you are negotiating your equitable distribution matter outside of court by way of a separation agreement, it is best to not proceed with the absolute divorce until all issues are fully settled and a separation agreement is executed for the reasons stated above.