Livingston Marital Agreement Lawyer
Certain types of contracts – often referred to as marital agreements – only exist between spouses. These complex documents may alter your default property distribution rights, waive alimony payments, or protect your children’s inheritance.
Because domestic relations provisions generally control spousal agreements, you should discuss your contract rights with an experienced family attorney. A Livingston marital agreement lawyer could help you understand the legal implications of marriage in New Jersey and prepare appropriate prenuptial and postnuptial contracts.
Drafting Marital Agreements in Livingston
New Jersey’s default marital laws do not work for every couple. As such, the state allows engaged persons as well as marriage couples to alter their rights through written contracts. These marital agreements may address a variety of personal, commercial, and estate concerns, including:
- Alimony (spousal maintenance and support)
- Joint business and real estate interests
- Property distribution in the event of separation, divorce, or death
- Estate planning, including drafting reciprocal wills, trusts, and healthcare proxies
- Marital property ownership designations and management
- The financial rights of children from a previous relationship
- Ownership and liability of certain individual debts, such as student loans, credit cards, medical bills, and mortgages
Unlike many business agreements, marital contracts have specific execution formalities that typically require help from a local attorney. Spousal contracts require written documents signed by both parties and full disclosure of each party’s assets and liabilities.
Couples may not draft a prenup or postnup in anticipation of separation or divorce. Separation and divorce settlements raise different legal issues and have distinct requirements a lawyer may help couples address.
Importantly, neither prenuptial nor postnuptial agreements may incorporate child support, custody, and visitation provisions. Only New Jersey family courts may finalize custody and visitation orders based on the children’s best interest. Additionally, child support awards require judges to apply the state’s financial support guidelines, and parents may not generally forgive or waive child support obligations. Judges may void the entire spousal agreement if it substantially incorporates unlawful provisions. Accordingly, couples seeking to address issues related to their future children should only prepare marital agreements with a qualified attorney.
Who May Benefit from a Marital Contract?
When one party to the marriage has a high net worth, spouses may protect individual assets from New Jersey’s default equitable distribution laws with a marital contract. The following parties may benefit from discussing these agreements with a qualified attorney:
- Those with elderly or infirmed parents
- Anyone with children from a previous relationship
- Those with substantial student debt or real estate liabilities
- Persons expecting a family inheritance or benefiting from a trust
- Anyone with significant business or real estate interests
- Interfaith couples
- Anyone considering investing separate assets with a spouse
Contracts between spouses do not require couples to address marital dissolution. They could simply alter default property rights to protect extended family members, safeguard a couple’s financial health, and encourage a successful marriage. An experienced lawyer in Livingston could help couples understand how a marital agreement could benefit their lifestyle.
Speak with an Experienced Livingston Marital Agreement Attorney
Various provisions hidden within New Jersey law might inadvertently affect your property rights during and after marriage. The law could even jeopardize your healthcare decisions and the financial stability of your children and parents. Almost all couples could benefit from discussing the legal implications of marriage with a Livingston marital agreement lawyer.
Whether your wish to protect separate assets through a prenuptial contract, prepare for the birth of your first child with a postmarital agreement, or negotiate a reasonable separation settlement, our domestic relations team could help. Call us today to discuss your family and estate rights.