It’s estimated that thousands of weddings have been put on hold in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The chief marketing officer at The Knot Worldwide was quoted as saying 95 percent of couples who planned spring and early summer weddings pushed back their date to later this year and even into next.
As disheartening as it has been for so many to reschedule, hitting the pause button on celebrations may present some couples with an opportunity to more carefully consider the terms of their prenuptial agreement – or rethink their decision not to have one.
A survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that more millennials are requesting prenuptial agreements than previous generations. More than 60 percent of family law attorneys queried reported an overall rise in prenuptial agreements in recent years.
For millennials, this can be at least partially attributed to many of them marrying older. Those who have been on their own and accumulated some wealth (stock programs, 401(k), real estate, etc.) may want to make sure they can keep that property if the marriage goes south.
Others may be on their second or subsequent marriage and want to ensure not only that they can keep their assets, but that their children’s inheritance is protected.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract entered into by two people before they are wed. The purpose is to resolve in advance any number of financial matters that might arise in the event of a divorce or death of a spouse.
N.J.S.A. §§ 37:2-31 to 37:2-41 explains all the elements that can be included in a prenuptial agreement. Some of those are:
- The obligations and rights of either spouse to any property, regardless of wherever or whenever it was acquired.
- Rights of buying, selling, using, transferring, exchanging, leasing, assigning, expending, consuming, abandoning or otherwise controlling or managing property.
- How property should be dispersed in the event the couple separates, divorce or one of them dies.
- How alimony might be modified or eliminated.
- Ownership rights of a death benefit in a life insurance policy.
- Any other matter that’s not in violation of public policy (meaning in part that it might leave on spouse without reasonable support, leave one in a public charge or provide a standard of living far below what was enjoyed before the marriage).
Prenuptial agreements cannot dictate child custody or child support, as those matters are decided based on a standard of what is in the best interests of the child.
Why Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements tend to get a bad rap. Often, people are more concerned about the stigma rather than prioritizing their financial well-being.
However, New Jersey prenuptial agreements can reduce the complexities and often the hard feelings that can arise in divorce.
The benefits of a prenuptial agreement include:
- Preservation of family ties and inheritance.
- Protection of the financial well-being of children from a previous marriage or relationship.
- Protection of personal and business assets accumulated prior to the start of your marriage.
- Spells out which assets a spouse may want to pass on to children or other family members in the event of their death.
- Eliminates wars over finances and assets in the event of a divorce or death.
Keep in mind that prenuptial agreements can be flexible to fit your needs.
If you have questions about what a premarital agreement can accomplish, the process and the cost, our East Brunswick family law attorneys offer free initial consultations.
Contact us at (732) 810-0034 or email us through our website.