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New Jersey Prenuptial Agreements are a Smart Idea - Even for Couples Who Don't Want One

In the rosy glow of a new engagement, few couples want to consider the possibility of divorce. However, the reality is many marriages do end in divorce. If couples don’t plan accordingly, their debts, assets, liabilities, alimony and other legal rights can be determined by default rules of divorce law, which may not be in your best interests. This can be avoided with a well-drafted New Jersey prenuptial agreement, as outlined in New Jersey Revised Statute Title 37 Section 2-32. The law also allows for pre-civil union agreements, for those contemplating a civil union rather than a marriage.

Discussing divorce is not pleasant. Still, Red Bank prenuptial agreement attorneys know that by working through these issues now – while both parties are openly communicating and sharing genuine affection for each other – there is a better chance of a favorable outcome for both.

The hope is once it’s done, you’ll never need to revisit it. However, if you do, you will be secure in the knowledge you have a mutually agreeable plan. This can help avoid a lot of the contention that often arises in separation – especially important if children are involved.

What Happens Without a Prenup?

Without a prenuptial agreement, divorcing couples must either agree on the distribution of assets and debts or submit property issues to a judge for determination. Both negotiations and judicial orders are guided by New Jersey statutes and case law. Both options remove control of property from those directly affected. The issue of alimony can also be settled by terms of a prenuptial agreement, which might otherwise be left to a judge’s discretion.

Issues Which Cannot Be Enforced in a Prenuptial Agreement

For the most part, prenuptial agreements address property rights. One thing prenuptial agreements can’t set are custody and support matters pertaining to future children. Parents must either negotiate these issues at the time of a divorce or yield to the judge’s discretion.

Because prenuptial agreements deal almost exclusively with financial issues, they are considered a legal tool, akin to a last will and testament. It can be helpful for betrothed couples to think of them this way. Like wills, prenuptial agreements allow couples to execute financial arrangements in anticipation of future events, allowing them to take control of their own financial futures. Many divorce litigants find out too late the outcome of divorce is worse without a prenuptial agreement. Ample time, expense and energy is spent sorting through complex details at an emotionally draining time. Attorneys’ fees spent on drafting a prenuptial agreement are generally far more modest compared to a divorce.

By consulting with a Red Bank prenuptial lawyer, couples can plan for their rights and responsibilities in the way they want - not the way that is applied by default rules of law.

If you have questions about a New Jersey prenuptial agreement, contact the Monmouth County prenuptial attorneys at Rozin-Golinder Law LLC by calling (732) 810-0034.

Additional Resources:Christopher Guido v. Christina Guido, Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division (unpublished opinion), Decided August 27, 2014.

More Blog Entries: How is Property Division Handled in New Jersey?, December 27, 2016, New Jersey Family Law Attorney Blog

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