New Jersey Premarital Agreements Attorney
As a comprehensive New Jersey family law attorney, John B. D’Alessandro in Union helps people enter into marriage with security and peace of mind by negotiating and drafting premarital agreements that protect them in the event of separation or divorce. Below are answers to some basic questions about premarital agreements in New Jersey. If you need assistance negotiating, drafting or reviewing a New Jersey premarital agreement, contact the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro for help.
What is a premarital agreement?
A premarital agreement, also known as a prenuptial agreement or just “prenup,” is a contract made by two people who are contemplating marriage. A premarital agreement becomes effective upon marriage and is enforceable in court just like any other contract.
What does a premarital agreement do?
A premarital agreement sets out how certain matters, such as the payment of spousal support or the division of marital property, will be carried out in the event of divorce, legal separation, death or any other event the parties agree upon. While spousal support (alimony) and property distribution are the most frequent subjects of a premarital agreement, there are many other topics a prenup can cover. Other typical provisions including the making of a will or trust, or the right to receive a life insurance death benefit. A prenuptial agreement can cover any topic that is not illegal or against public policy. For instance, a prenup that adversely affected one party’s right to receive child support would not be allowed.
Why have a prenuptial agreement?
Any couple can benefit from a premarital agreement; getting these issues “on the table” and out of the way before a marriage begins can promote a healthy dialogue and help the couple enter the marriage focused on each other without any worries about financial security, should things not work out. This is particularly the case when there is a large disparity of wealth between the parties. A prenup helps the less wealthy party feel that he or she will be taken care of and treated fairly, while the wealthier individual likewise knows he or she will not be taken advantage of or “taken to the cleaners.”
Premarital agreements may be particularly helpful for couples where one or both of the spouses has been married before and went through a rough divorce. Such an experience can make a person gun shy to marry again, and a premarital agreement can allay any fears that such a performance might be repeated.
Finally, in the event of a divorce, having a premarital agreement can save time, money and emotional conflict in the divorce process. The issues may also likely be settled in a more rational, objective and mutually-agreeable fashion than if dealt with in a high-conflict divorce situation.
What are the requirements for a valid prenuptial agreement in New Jersey?
According to the New Jersey Premarital Agreement Act, a valid prenup must be in writing and signed by both parties. A statement of assets listing the assets of both partners should be attached to the document. Both parties should consult with their own attorney before signing the agreement, and if one party chooses not to consult an attorney, he or she should state in writing that this right was knowingly and voluntarily waived.
A premarital agreement can be challenged on various grounds, such as an allegation that the agreement was not entered into voluntarily, or that it was not based on a full and fair disclosure of the financial assets and obligations of the other spouse. A prenup is also unenforceable if it is unconscionable at the time it is signed. This legal term basically means that the agreement would leave one of the spouses without any reasonable support, force him or her to depend on public assistance, or subject the person to a standard of living far below what the person enjoyed prior to marriage.
Call Today for Premarital Agreements in Union, Essex and Middlesex Counties
Help start your marriage on the right foot. For advice and representation in negotiating, drafting or reviewing a New Jersey premarital agreement, contact the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro in Union to speak with a dedicated and experienced New Jersey family law attorney.