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What Should Be Included in a Premarital Agreement?

Married couple signing a form

So, you’re planning to get married—congratulations! You may already understand the potential benefits of a premarital agreement, especially if you or your spouse is getting married for a second time. Premarital agreements have become increasingly common among New Jersey couples as a simpler way to determine what should happen to their property and finances in the event of a divorce. Even if you know that you need a premarital agreement, you might not be sure about what, exactly should be included in it. Below, find some suggestions on what couples often include in their New Jersey premarital agreements, and speak with an experienced family law attorney with any additional questions.

  • Decide which spouse will take important property

A premarital agreement can lay out how large items of property that aren’t easily divided, such as houses or cars, will be split between the spouses. The agreement can also specify that certain property should be considered one spouse’s separate property even if obtained during the marriage, or considered marital property even if obtained outside the marriage.

  • Determine whether and how much alimony will be paid

Many premarital agreements include waivers of the right to seek alimony after a divorce, but that isn’t a couple’s only option. These contracts can also stipulate the amount of alimony that will be owed, sometimes with an agreement that the amount should increase as the length of the marriage increases.

  • Divide up debts

Couples don’t just divide their assets in a divorce; they also divide up responsibility for debts they accrued during the marriage. Establishing in advance which debts are the responsibility of which spouse can make it easier to separate financially from one another after a split.

  • Consider a sunset clause

Sunset clauses state that a contract will no longer be enforced after a particular date. In other words, if the sunset clause is set at eight years, then, if the couple ends up divorcing after their eighth anniversary, they would divide their property according to New Jersey’s equitable division law and not the premarital agreement. Some couples find that a sunset provision makes the process of obtaining a premarital agreement a bit less pessimistic, by providing protection against an early failure of the marriage, while also making a show of faith that the union will last.

If you are planning to be married in New Jersey, get answers to your legal questions by contacting the seasoned and dedicated Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation, at 908-964-0102.

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