Livingston Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer
Many happily married couples executed prenuptial contracts before their wedding, but you seldom hear about these agreements’ practical benefits. Prenups have a negative connotation because of their connection with divorce. However, separation and divorce provisions are merely one part of the many benefits of premarital agreements.
An experienced Livingston prenuptial agreement lawyer could discuss the true scope and benefits of these contracts with soon-to-be spouses. Our marital agreement attorneys could review your situation and determine what provision may be most beneficial to you and your future partner.
Why Should Couples Enter a Prenup?
As a binding legal institution, marriage both creates and eliminates certain personal obligations and property rights. Most assets and liabilities acquired by either party during the marriage become part of the marital estate. This often includes personal items purchased with individual income, pension benefits, and other items single persons did not share before marriage.
New Jersey’s default marital property laws do not work for every couple. As such, soon-to-be spouses may work with qualified legal counsel to modify these rights under the state’ Uniform Premarital and Pre-Civil Union Agreement Act, New Jersey Revised Statutes §37:2-31, et seq. Individuals with student debt, investments, family heirlooms, or children from a previous relationship should speak with a lawyer in the area about how a prenuptial agreement could protect their financial interests.
What Can Prenuptial Agreements Cover in New Jersey?
Couples may generally modify, eliminate, or otherwise create personal obligations and property rights with a prenup. However, they may not bind other parties with their agreement, such as children, elderly parents, or creditors. Courts must typically decide sensitive matters related to child support, guardianship, visitation, and custody separately. An attorney could help Livingston couples understand the permissible provisions of a prenuptial agreement under N.J. Rev. Stat. § 37:2–34, including:
- Rights to individually or jointly buy, own, sell, manage, encumber, and use property
- Classification of property interest (marital or separate) and distribution upon legal separation, divorce, or death
- Waiving, modifying, or increasing alimony
- Agreements to draft specific wills, healthcare proxies, trusts, and other estate documents
- Ownership and rights related to life insurance policies
- Other personal obligations, such as interfaith child-rearing agreements, and financial protections for children from a previous relationship
Individuals preparing for marriage may address one or all of these issues in a prenup. An attorney could help couples determine which provisions to include or modify based on specific family needs and financial situations.
Laws Applicable to Executing Premarital Contracts
Because prenups commonly deal with sensitive personal obligations, New Jersey courts closely scrutinize these contracts for fairness. Any indication that one party was under duress or unlawfully coerced into signing a premarital contract might void the entire agreement. Couples should execute prenuptial settlements based on the specific provisions outlined in N.J. Rev. Stat. § 37:2–38, including:
- Retaining independent legal counsel to review terms for fairness
- Providing full disclosure of all assets, income, and liabilities
- Negotiating fair and reasonable terms for both parties
- Ensuring the agreement includes legal and publicly acceptable terms
Additionally, prenuptial agreements should adhere to certain execution formalities. These include putting the signed contract in writing and attaching a schedule of assets and liabilities. A Livingston attorney could review any proposed prenuptial agreements to ensure fairness and enforceability.
Contact a Livingston Prenuptial Agreement Attorney
Traditional contract law does not apply to New Jersey prenups. Therefore, you should seek help from qualified Livingston prenuptial agreement lawyers to discuss, draft, and finalize any proposed contracts. Including the wrong terms or failing to disclose certain assets could result in an unlawful agreement that adversely affects your future.
Our family and marital property professionals could help you understand your matrimonial rights and decide whether to execute a prenup. Discuss your pending marriage and associated legal concerns with us today.