A prenuptial agreement is essentially a legal contract between prospective spouses that becomes effective once they become married. The reason prenups are so beneficial is that they can provide significant savings in time and money if the couple should divorce in the future since the issues a court would normally resolve are already addressed in the prenuptial agreement.
Some of the most common issues addressed in a New Jersey prenuptial agreement include:
- The rights and obligations of each spouse when it comes to joint and separate property, including the right to use, sell, lease, transfer, assign, exchange, or control and manage the property, and how the property will be divided in case of divorce, death, separation, or other triggering event.
- The modification or elimination of alimony.
- The creation of a will, trust, or other instruments to fulfill the prenuptial agreement’s provisions in the event of the death or disability of either spouse.
- The disposition of, and ownership rights in, the death benefits from a life insurance policy.
- How and in what legal jurisdiction the agreement will be enforced.
- Any other obligation or personal rights the couple chooses to convey upon either spouse.
A New Jersey prenuptial agreement cannot be used to predetermine child custody or support matters, as these are issues left to a court to determine using a “best interest of the child” standard.
To be valid in New Jersey, a prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both spouses. A statement of assets must also be attached to the agreement and must represent a full disclosure of each spouse’s financial information. If there are undeclared assets that later come to light, this could result in a nullification of the agreement. A prenup can be modified following the marriage provided that both spouses agree to the modifications.
Although it is not a legal requirement in New Jersey, it is highly advisable for both spouses to be represented by separate legal counsel when drafting a prenuptial agreement. Not having the proper legal advice when entering into a prenup could be a basis for challenging the agreement down the road.
You can rely on Murphy & Cistaro to skillfully negotiate and mediate your issues to a satisfactory resolution. Should the need arise, you can also count on our experience for being aggressive litigators if the situation calls for a more assertive response. Contact us today for your free consultation.