If you are entering a New Jersey marriage, it may be wise to consider a pre-nuptial agreement before officially tying the knot.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a popular way to safeguard your assets and financial security in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements protect a variety of pre-marital assets including real estate, investment accounts, trusts, and foreign assets. Notably, if a couple is seeking a prenuptial agreement in the state of New Jersey, both parties must disclose all assets and obtain independent legal counsel.
The primary benefit that prenuptial agreements provide is less litigation in the case of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can also help the family of one spouse in the event that there are shared assets such as a family business.
Who Should Pursue a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is highly recommended for certain people. For example, if you own a business, expect to inherit a sizeable amount of money, have/earn significantly more than your spouse, or are marrying somebody with significant debts, pursuing a prenuptial agreement may be in your best interest.
Concerns with Prenuptial Agreements
Many couples are against prenuptial agreements because they feel that it may impact their marriage long-term. However, prenuptial agreements are highly customizable to the specific couple. In New Jersey, many couples decide to opt for a “sunset clause” which enables them to void the agreement after a certain duration of married time has passed.
If you decide not to pursue a prenuptial agreement, high-asset divorces can become particularly intensive to litigate.
One of the primary causes of conflict during a divorce is the distribution of marital property. In other words, the distribution must be equitable, or fair, but it does not have to be equal.
It is very important that you understand the difference between separate property and marital property. In general, property that you owned before you were married or after you or your spouse filed for divorce is separate property. Property bought while you were married and before either of you filed for divorce is marital property. However, there are a few exceptions. In addition to property bought before the marriage or after the filing for divorce, there are two types of property that are excluded from equitable distribution:
- gifts intended for one spouse only that were not given by the other spouse and
- an inheritance specifically left to one spouse.
Inevitably, equitable and fair distribution of marital assets becomes much more clear if a prenuptial agreement is filed.
How to Pursue a Prenuptial Agreement
If a prenuptial agreement seems like something that could benefit you and your family, the first step is to reach out a reputable New Jersey attorney. Here are some general considerations to make when deciding on an attorney to represent you:
- is accessible
- shows compassion to your family
- is experienced in both negotiation and litigation
- offers a valuable initial consultation
- has the best interest of you and your future spouse
The next step is to schedule an initial consultation with your attorney in order to begin formulating a comprehensive prenuptial plan for your fam