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How Prenuptial Agreements Can Be Used to Protect Assets in a New Jersey Divorce

Man and woman signing marriage contract at light grey table, closeup

A premarital or prenuptial agreement, often referred to as a “prenup,” is a powerful legal tool that can provide security and clarity for couples entering marriage. Although prenups can help anyone regardless of socioeconomic status, prenuptial agreements are particularly beneficial for individuals with significant assets, as they can help safeguard these assets in the event of a divorce. Read on as we explore how prenuptial agreements can protect various types of assets and provide practical insights for those considering this legal arrangement. For help with issues related to marriage, divorce, or other family law matters in Union, Essex or Middlesex counties in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Union family law attorney.

Understanding Premarital Agreements in New Jersey

A premarital agreement is a legally binding contract entered into by a couple before they get married. It outlines how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce or separation. In New Jersey, premarital agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act (UPMAA), which ensures that such agreements are fair, voluntarily executed, and properly documented.

Key assets protected by prenuptial agreements in New Jersey include the following:


One of the most common assets protected by prenuptial agreements is inheritance. Without a prenup, an inheritance received by one spouse during the marriage could be considered marital property and subject to division in a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can specify that any inheritance received by either spouse remains separate property, ensuring that it is protected from equitable distribution.

Example: Jane receives a significant inheritance from her grandmother. Her prenuptial agreement with John specifies that this inheritance remains her separate property, thus safeguarding it from division in the event of a divorce.

Even absent a premarital agreement, inheritance is generally presumed to be non-marital property, but married persons who receive an inheritance must take care not to use these funds for marital purposes or commingle them with marital funds if they want to maintain the separate character or the inheritance.

Business Interests

For individuals who own a business or have a stake in one, a prenuptial agreement can be crucial. It can delineate the ownership and division of business interests, protecting the business from being split or adversely affected by a divorce.

Example: Tom owns a successful tech company. His prenuptial agreement with Mary clearly states that the business is his separate property and that she will have no claim to it in the event of a divorce. This ensures that Tom retains full control and ownership of his business.

Pre-Marriage Property

Property owned by either spouse before the marriage can also be protected through a prenuptial agreement. This includes real estate, investments, and other valuable assets. The agreement can specify that these assets remain the separate property of the original owner, preventing them from being subject to division.

Example: Sarah owns a condo in Hoboken that she purchased before marrying Mark. Their prenuptial agreement stipulates that the condo remains Sarah’s separate property, protecting it from equitable distribution in a divorce.

While premarital property is generally considered separate even without a prenup, specifying the property in a premarital agreement can strengthen a claim and set clear expectations regarding a particular asset.

Practical Insights for Individuals with Significant Assets

To ensure that a prenuptial agreement is enforceable, both parties must fully disclose their assets and debts. Transparency is key to creating a fair and legally binding agreement. Failing to disclose all relevant information can lead to the agreement being invalidated in court.

Additionally, a prenuptial agreement must be entered into voluntarily by both parties. Coercion or pressure can render the agreement invalid. It is important for each party to have their own legal representation to ensure that their interests are protected and that the agreement is fair.

As circumstances change, it may be necessary to review and update the prenuptial agreement. Significant changes such as the acquisition of new assets, changes in financial status, or the birth of children can impact the relevance and fairness of the agreement. Regular reviews ensure that the agreement remains up-to-date and effective.

The terms of a prenuptial agreement should be clear and specific. Ambiguities can lead to disputes and challenges in court. It is advisable to work with an experienced family law attorney to draft an agreement that accurately reflects the intentions and expectations of both parties.

Contact the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro for Help With Premarital Agreements in Union, New Jersey

For personalized advice and assistance with prenuptial agreements in Union, Essex, or Middlesex counties, call the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro in Union at 908-964-0102. Here you’ll find an experienced family law attorney ready to help you navigate the complexities of prenuptial agreements and protect your assets.

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