Studies and surveys consistently indicate that financial issues are one of the leading causes of divorce in the United States. Fortunately, whether you’re planning on marrying or are already a spouse, you can take certain precautions to address how assets are handled in the event of divorce.
One way to protect yourself and your partner is to enter into a prenuptial agreement. You can address how marital property will be divided and other matters specific to your circumstances to avoid contentious arguments in the future.
Our Monmouth County family lawyers at The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill can explain your rights and help you prepare for any unexpected issues. We understand that many people have reservations about prenups. However, they can be a valuable tool to encourage honest communication and give you peace of mind.
To learn more about premarital agreements in Monmouth County, NJ, contact us online or call our law firm at (732) 747-1882 for a free, confidential consultation. We’ll answer your questions and help you create an agreement that accomplishes each party’s goals.
How Can a Monmouth County Family Law Attorney Help With a Prenuptial Agreement?
Contrary to popular belief, prenups can contain provisions to protect both parties. And while many people associate them with wealthy couples, anyone can use these agreements to outline how to handle various issues if the marriage dissolves.
Marital agreements are contracts, meaning specific requirements must be met for them to be enforceable. That’s why it’s vital to retain an attorney who is well-versed in New Jersey family law and knows how to draft a legally-binding marital contract.
The legal team at The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill has over 20 years of experience helping couples and families navigate complex legal matters. We’ll help you and your partner figure out what you want to achieve and ensure that all issues are properly addressed.
If you hire our Monmouth County family attorneys for help with a prenup, we’ll:
- Facilitate open and honest discussions between you and your partner to identify your goals
- Draft an enforceable agreement in accordance with state law and your objectives, addressing all relevant topics
- Ensure that you and your partner understand and agree to the terms of the document and answer any questions you may have
- Communicate with your partner’s attorney if they’re separately represented
We can also help you review and evaluate whether a prenup is equitable if another attorney drafted it. If it contains unenforceable, invalid, or unfair conditions, we’ll negotiate on your behalf and ensure you receive a fair result. Contact our attorneys in Monmouth County, New Jersey before you sign the agreement.
Even if you’re unsure whether you want to enter into a marital contract, you should consult an experienced attorney to understand your rights. We offer a free consultation, so there’s no risk in reaching out for guidance from one of our Monmouth County marital agreement lawyers.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement in New Jersey?
A prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement or pre-civil union agreement) is a formal contract entered into by a couple before they marry or create a civil union. It becomes effective upon marriage or the establishment of a valid civil union.
New Jersey’s Uniform Premarital and Pre-Civil Union Agreement Act outlines the requirements of these contracts and what can and cannot be included.
A prenup in New Jersey can address the following:
- Each party’s legal rights and obligations with respect to marital and separate property (e.g., how premarital debts and liabilities will be handled)
- Each party’s ability to buy, sell, transfer, use, or otherwise control property
- Property division, including how property and assets will be divided and disposed of upon separation, dissolution, or death
- Spousal support, alimony, or financial support
- Estate planning matters, including wills and trusts
- Beneficiary designations for death benefits from life insurance policies
- Which jurisdiction’s law governs (e.g., if the parties own property in other states)
- Any other issue, so long as it doesn’t violate public policy
The division of assets is one of the most common features of a premarital agreement. However, as you can see, various other topics can be included.
The contract cannot negatively affect a child’s rights. For example, provisions relating to child support or child custody are typically unenforceable. Courts make determinations on these matters based on the best interest of the child and each parent’s circumstances at the time of the decision.
Contact our Monmouth County prenuptial agreement lawyers for more information.
Do I Need a Prenup Agreement in New Jersey? What Are the Benefits?
Whether you want or need a prenuptial agreement will depend on your objectives.
New Jersey law requires the equitable distribution of marital property. During the divorce process, parties often disagree on what is marital versus separate property. Accordingly, it’s better to define it now when you’re in a good place rather than when you’re going through a heated divorce.
When dividing marital assets and debts during a divorce, courts examine multiple factors, including:
- Each party’s financial contributions to the marriage
- The standard of living during the marriage
- Each party’s financial situation at the time of divorce, including income and debts
- Each party’s earning potential
- A parent’s need to remain in the marital residence due to child custody
However, a valid prenup can override these considerations. You’ll receive what you and your partner bargained for, making the process much easier and quicker.
Marital agreements are beneficial in many ways, including but not limited to:
- They help you protect premarital assets and property
- They encourage transparent communication and financial disclosure between you and your partner
- They provide an opportunity for the couple to identify and value separate assets and how they will be distributed upon divorce
- Each party has an opportunity to outline what’s important to them during the marriage and if the relationship dissolves
- A party who gave up their career to raise children can bargain for financial security
- They can prevent a contentious divorce in the future, saving couples money and alleviating stress
- If a party has considerable debts in their name, an agreement can outline how liabilities and debt will be handled to give their partner peace of mind
- They can address what happens if either party dies, including a child’s inheritance
Our family law attorneys in Monmouth County will help you and your partner decide whether a premarital agreement is right for you.
What Can Make a Prenup Unenforceable in New Jersey?
Under New Jersey law, the following can invalidate a prenup agreement:
- The document wasn’t properly executed (e.g., a party didn’t sign in the presence of a notary)
- A party involuntarily signed the agreement (e.g., a party was coerced into signing or there was a lack of consent)
- A party wasn’t given full disclosure of the other’s property and finances (e.g., a party hid assets or misrepresented the value of their property)
- A party wasn’t represented by independent legal counsel (and didn’t expressly waive their opportunity to consult an attorney)
- The agreement violates public policy
If you have questions about an existing prenup and want to determine whether it’s enforceable, contact our Monmouth County marital agreement attorneys. We’ll review the document and advise whether any provision is unconscionable or unenforceable.
The party who challenges a contract’s validity has the burden of proof. We can gather evidence and help you contest the enforceability of your marriage agreement.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Legal Team To Discuss a Monmouth County Prenuptial Agreement
Do you need assistance with a prenup in Monmouth County, New Jersey? Contact The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill. Whether you need help deciding whether it’s a good option for you, drafting an agreement, or reviewing a draft agreement, we’re here to provide compassionate and honest advice.
Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced family lawyers in Monmouth County.
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