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Massar v. Massar

Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey
652 A.2d 219 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 1995)


Mr. Massar (defendant) and Mrs. Massar (plaintiff) were married. Their marriage began to deteriorate, and they discussed divorce. They signed an agreement under which Mr. Massar agreed to move out of the marital home, and in exchange, Mrs. Massar agreed not to seek divorce on fault-based grounds. A New Jersey law required an 18-month separation before spouses could seek a no-fault divorce. The Massars’ agreement thus prohibited Mrs. Massar from seeking divorce on a ground other than an 18-month separation. However, approximately five months after the Massars signed the agreement, Mrs. Massar filed a petition for divorce based on extreme cruelty. The divorce petition did not allege any conduct on the part of Mr. Massar that was not occurring before the Massars signed the agreement. The trial court upheld the agreement and dismissed the petition for divorce. Mrs. Massar appealed, arguing that the agreement should be unenforceable on public policy grounds.

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