The decision to make a lifetime commitment to another person is monumental and most start this journey with excitement and anticipation. But with years ahead of you and much at stake, you may want to consider signing a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse.
However, when contemplating a prenup, you should understand its benefits and limitations. These contracts are made while a couple is contemplating marriage and go into effect when a couple becomes legally married. You can amend a prenuptial agreement after marriage, but only if the agreement is put in writing.
One of our Short Hills prenuptial agreement lawyers could explain the process and help you prepare for whatever the future may hold. Our dedicated attorneys want to help you protect your rights and your family’s future.
Whenever a couple enters into a premarital contract, they should make sure their prenup will be enforceable. Therefore, it is best to work with an attorney when drafting a prenuptial agreement. Too many people sign prenups without having an attorney review it, assuming it will protect them. In reality, there are many requirements to ensure a prenup is legally enforceable. A Short Hills attorney familiar with prenuptial agreements can explain the fundamental contract law that supports these arrangements.
According to state law, a valid prenup must be in writing, signed by both parties, and notarized. Additionally, the contract must have a statement attached which discloses all assets and liabilities of both parties. This is critical because nondisclosure could be grounds for invalidating an agreement. If one or both parties does not have a lawyer, there must be a statement establishing that they freely waived their right to attorney review.
Prenups protect the assets each spouse brings into the marriage and provides guidance for resolving disputes over property during the marriage or upon divorce. However, these agreements could provide other protections as well. In your prenup, you can also address such issues as:
Prenups may affect divorce settlements and certain estate planning documents. However, these contracts cannot affect the right to child support. If one spouse brings substantial assets to a marriage, an attorney in Short Hills who understands prenuptial agreements could counsel this individual about the protection or distribution of their assets.
It may be essential to consult one of our prenuptial contract attorneys in Short Hills because a court could invalidate the agreement on specific grounds. An agreement may become invalid if, for instance, a party proves by clear and convincing evidence that they signed under coercion or distress.
The same is true if there was not a complete disclosure of all assets, or if the agreement is so unreasonable that it is considered unconscionable. A court may find a prenup unconscionable if it renders one party without reasonable support and in need of public assistance, or if they will be left well below their standard of living before marriage.
Many people mistakenly overlook the importance of a prenuptial contract. Today, prenuptial agreements can provide robust protections for someone’s assets and interests. In 1988, New Jersey passed the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. The Act essentially provides guidance when enforcing prenups.
Born from a growing need to protect the rights of both spouses, the Act ensures these agreements are uniformly enforced in the vast majority of states. With more and more marriages involving two working, asset-earning spouses, the need for this type of protection is greater than ever. While any couple can have a prenup, it can be especially important for individuals with high net worth and those who have assets and children from another marriage.
While you prepare for your wedding with joy and excitement, you also may begin to consider the economic significance of marriage and want to plan for the unforeseen. A consultation with one of our Short Hills prenuptial agreement lawyers could be part of your preparation for the profound life change of marriage. For help drafting your agreement, call our office today.