Prenuptial Agreements are entered into by parties prior to their marriage. Their purpose is to protect assets acquired both prior to and during the marriage in the event of a divorce.
They are also used to determine rights and obligations during the marriage, such as the use of marital money, budgeting and savings. While prenuptial agreements are generally utilized for spouses entering into a second marriage (especially where children of a prior marriage are involved), they can be used for first-time marrying couples.
With divorce rates soaring, it is sometimes important to protect premarital and/or family assets from the strict equitable distribution and support dictates of New Jersey law.
Requirements for a Valid Prenuptial Agreement
In New Jersey, a valid prenuptial agreement must have three things:
- It must include full disclosure of all assets and liabilities of the parties and sometimes copies of tax returns. These are usually attached as schedules to the actual agreement.
- The parties must have their own independent attorneys to counsel them on the effects of the agreement.
- The agreement must be signed and notarized in sufficient time prior to the actual marriage ceremony to avoid the issue of coercion.
If any one of these three prongs is missing, the Prenuptial Agreement may be deemed invalid at the time it is sought to be enforced. As such, in order to allow for sufficient time for drafting and negotiation all the necessary elements of a prenuptial agreement, Ms. Wagner requires that she be retained at least 6-months before the scheduled wedding date.
As with any family law issue, there is no one set form of prenuptial agreement. It can be as vague or as detailed as the parties’ desire as long as both have input and consideration. Ms. Wagner has drafted many very involved prenuptial agreements one of which even included who would pay the phone bill and who would pay the electric bill. Ms. Wagner was told after the fact by her client that he and his wife often pulled out the agreement to resolve financial disputes. While this case is, admittedly, extreme, it is important for parties to ensure they are adequately protected in the event of a divorce or death of a spouse who has children from a prior marriage.
If you believe your situation may require a Prenuptial Agreement or if one has been initiated by your partner, please contact the Law Office of Katherine Wagner today to discuss your rights.
Serving Somerset County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas.