Are you one of them? A prenuptial agreement is a legal document signed off on by a couple before their marriage that can address such issues as property and assets brought into the marriage by each person, and what the property rights of each will be should they divorce. A prenup can also spell out amounts of NJ spousal support or alimony the couple agrees to in the event of divorce, and how certain behavior (i.e., cheating/marital infidelity) can affect the conditions of a divorce. It’s always hoped that any prenuptial agreement will never need to be enforced, but like a life insurance policy, over the years, knowing it’s there can provide peace of mind.
Some individuals and couples might assume they don’t need a prenuptial agreement. Before you make a decision, consider these profiles of five types of people who might be better off with a pre-nup in place:
You’ve been married (and divorced) before: If you have already ben through a divorce, then you probably already know that the more organized and clear-cut your finances as a couple, the easier it is for a divorce settlement to be reached. Practically speaking, having a pre-nup in place before a second or subsequent marriage can help to make the divorce process a little stressful and contentious.
You have kids from a previous marriage or relationship: If you have assets that you plan to someday give to your children, getting married may complicate whether those assets would need to be divided if the marriage ends in divorce. Putting a prenuptial agreement in place is a way for parents to make sure assets and property intended for children are kept intact.
You want to be a stay-at-home parent: If you are leaving your career to stay home with the kids, getting a divorce may mean trying to jump back into a career you’re just not able to enter at the same level/salary. Making decisions beforehand about spousal support can provide peace of mind that if your situation were to change, you would be financially protected. (If you’re married and don’t have a pre-nup, but will stay home with the kids, read our blog about SAHMs/SAHDs and post-nuptial agreements.)
You’re wealthier — or not as wealthy — as your betrothed: If you are entering a marriage with considerable assets, putting a prenuptial agreement in place is a way to protect these assets from being divided in the event of divorce. However, a pre-nup for the less asset-rich spouse can be equally important in terms of negotiating for a spousal support amount and other assets (i.e., living accommodations) that will allow you to continue the same lifestyle standard you experienced during the marriage.
Your soon-to-be spouse is poised to begin a new career: Are you the main bread winner right now as you support your spouse-to-be though medical or professional school? A prenuptial agreement can spell out terms of spousal support based on projected future salaries and income levels, and also take into account support by one spouse to make the other spouse’s lucrative career possible.