Wedding bells will ring for many couples in New Jersey over the next few months, meaning that ’tis the season for spouses-to-be to start planning their future…including whether or not they need a prenuptial agreement!
Prenuptial agreements, better known as “prenups”, are becoming more and more common for engaged couples in New Jersey. While having a discussion about a prenup with your fiancé may not be romantic, a prenuptial agreement is a smart financial move that can bring you both greater peace of mind in your marriage for years to come. If you are considering whether a prenup is right for you, here are some things that you may not know about prenuptial agreements in New Jersey.
Prenuptial agreements aren’t just for the very wealthy
There is a misconception that only very wealthy people need prenuptial agreements to protect their many assets. However, prenups can address not only prior assets, they can address debts and financial arrangements during your upcoming marriage. How will money be contributed to your future house? Will you have joint or separate bank accounts? Do you both agree to waive any alimony in the future?
Custody and parenting issues are off limits in a prenup
While some couples want to lay out who would get custody of future children in the event of separation, the law in New Jersey prohibits this. The court will look at what is in the best interests of the children at the time the issues of custody or child support arise, and not before. It is impossible to know what would be in the best interests of your future children down the road.
You and your fiancé each need your own attorneys
It takes some of the burden off the couple if you both have attorneys who can negotiate on your behalf. The attorneys would negotiate and draft your prenuptial agreement and advise you on what is in your best interests. They will also make sure the prenup conforms to the law, not only regarding what is contained in the prenup, but also how it is drafted and executed by the both of you.
Oral prenuptial agreements are not valid
Your prenup must be written and signed by the both of you in front of a notary or your attorney. Any oral agreements that you and your fiancé make before marriage will typically not be honored by the court in the event that you divorce.
Your prenup must be entered into voluntarily
There should be language in your prenup that you are entering into the agreement freely and without coercion or pressure from anyone else, including your fiancé. If you are feeling that you are being strong-armed into the agreement, you should not enter into it. Discuss your concerns with your attorney so that he or she can guide you as to your rights.
Open Communication is Key
If you and your fiancé are considering a prenuptial agreement, do your research, sit down and try to discuss what you expect from your marriage. It makes things much easier if you are both on the same page.
Ready to learn more? Please contact us to set up your initial consultation with one of our family law attorneys. We are experienced in the drafting and negotiation of prenuptial agreements and can provide you with the guidance you need to seamlessly craft a strong and fair prenuptial agreement.