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What Should I Know About New Jersey Prenups?

prenup agreement with pen and gavel on table

More and more young couples are signing prenuptial agreements every year in New Jersey. Even couples that are confident about their relationship are realizing that prenuptial, or premarital, agreements are a positive step to take in planning for unexpected events to ensure financial security and minimize conflicts should the relationship deteriorate. Continue reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about New Jersey premarital agreements, and contact a knowledgeable New Jersey premarital agreement attorney with any questions.

What areas can a premarital agreement cover?

In New Jersey, premarital agreements are governed by New Jersey’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. There are limits to the rights and responsibilities that can be included in a premarital agreement. According to section 37:2-34, a premarital agreement can address:

  1. The rights and obligations of each party concerning the property of either party;
  2. The right to buy, sell, transfer, create a security interest in, etc., or otherwise manage and control property;
  3. The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
  4. Modification or elimination of spousal support;
  5. The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out provisions of the agreement;
  6. Ownership rights over benefits from a life insurance policy;
  7. Choice of law governing the agreement; and
  8. Any other matter, including personal rights and obligations, that are not in violation of public policy.

The law specifically states that premarital agreements cannot adversely affect one party’s right to child support.

Are changes to premarital agreements allowed?

After you and your spouse are married, you can still make changes to your premarital agreement. Any changes must be made in writing and signed by both parties, acknowledging the change to asset lists or other provisions.

What can cause a premarital agreement to be unenforceable?

If one party is looking to have a premarital agreement thrown out, they must prove one of several possible invalidating characteristics. Pursuant to section 37:2-38 of the New Jersey Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a premarital agreement can be invalidated if the party challenging the agreement can prove:

  1. The party executed the agreement involuntarily;
  2. The agreement was unjust at the time enforcement was sought;
  3. That party, before the agreement was signed:
  • Was not provided full and fair disclosure regarding the earnings, property, or financial obligations of the other party;
  • Did not explicitly waive, in writing, the right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party;
  • Did not have, or could not have reasonably had, sufficient knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party; OR
  • Did not consult with independent legal counsel and did not expressly waive the right to consult with legal counsel.

Courts will generally enforce premarital agreements if none of the above can be proven. If a party can show one of the above is true, then a court will likely set the agreement aside.

Contact a New Jersey Family Law Attorney

If you’re in need of compassionate, experienced, and talented legal help with drafting a premarital agreement or pursuing a divorce in New Jersey, contact the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro at 908-964-0102.

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