Prenuptial Agreement: What to Include
Prenuptial or premarital agreements are an important legal tool that a growing number of couples are utilizing to protect their rights, their finances, and their families. Prenups can be used to address a wide range of financial rights and responsibilities during the marriage and upon divorce. Read on for a discussion of what you can and should include in your New Jersey prenup. For help negotiating, drafting, enforcing, or invalidating a prenup, call a zealous New Jersey premarital agreement attorney.
Items to Cover in a Prenup
In New Jersey, a prenuptial agreement can be used to establish and protect many financial rights during and after marriage. Some of the most important items to address in your New Jersey prenup include the following:
Premarital Assets and Debts. A prenup can and should be used to protect the assets each party possessed before the marriage. Real estate, bank accounts, investment accounts, trusts, and other assets already in existence at the time of the marriage should be accounted for and addressed, to ensure that they are not inadvertently converted into marital property. The agreement should also address premarital debt.
Disposition of Assets and Debts. A prenup can be used to preemptively determine how all assets and debts will be distributed at the time of divorce, death, or other specific events. New Jersey law treats all property acquired during the marriage as marital property; with a prenup, you can decide how various assets and debts will be valued and how they will be distributed rather than subjecting them to equitable distribution by the court.
Spousal Support/Alimony. A prenup can be used to establish spousal support/alimony in the event of divorce. A prenup can also include a waiver of alimony.
Marital Responsibilities. A prenup can be used to define certain responsibilities during the marriage, such as establishing which party will pay for which household expenses, how bank accounts and taxes will be handled, how money will be spent or credit will be obtained, how investments will be handled, etc.
Business Interests and Other Complex Assets. Business ownership interest is one of the more complex issues to address upon divorce. With a prenup, you can establish in advance how or whether business interests and earnings will be divided. Your prenup can also address other complex assets such as retirement accounts, complex security holdings, and other investments.
Establishing Trusts and Other Estate Planning Items. It may be advantageous to establish a will or trust or to obtain life insurance and other financial policies, in order to give effect to the terms of a prenup. The agreement can provide for the making of those arrangements.
What Not to Include
There are a few items that cannot be dictated by a prenuptial agreement. Prenups cannot preemptively set the terms for child custody, for example, or child support. Child custody must be evaluated at the time of the divorce or custody dispute. Child support belongs to the child, not to the spouse, so the parents cannot agree to limited child support in advance.
If a prenup includes patently unfair or “unconscionable” terms, the court may excise those terms or toss out the agreement in its entirety. Also, prenups may be invalidated if they are entered into involuntarily, without full and fair disclosure of each party’s finances, or if the terms violate public policy.
Get Seasoned Legal Help for Your New Jersey Prenuptial Agreement
If you have questions about a prenuptial agreement, or if you are dealing with child custody, child support, divorce, alimony, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Law Office of John B. D’Alessandro in Union to discuss your concerns. From temporary orders for child support while your divorce case is underway to final orders or post-divorce modification motions, our thorough and dedicated family law attorney is here to advise and represent you.