You may think that a prenuptial agreement only apply to celebrities like the former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or multimillionaires, but are not relevant to your relationship. Maybe you feel as though you do not own enough assets to make it worthwhile. Perhaps you are not comfortable bringing up the topic with your future spouse for fear of hurting the other’s feelings or appearing hesitant about the marriage.
Not every couple contemplating marriage should obtain a prenuptial agreement. However, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still reporting that approximately half of all marriages end in divorce, a prenuptial agreement may be something to consider. In the event a divorce does occur, a prenuptial agreement can greatly ease the divorce process by avoiding common areas of contention, and can help avoid a great deal of emotional and financial expenses in the event of a divorce.
New Jersey Prenuptial Agreements
In New Jersey, prenuptial agreements are governed by the New Jersey Premarital Agreement Act (NJPAA). The NJPAA requires that all prenuptial agreements be in writing, with a statement of assets attached to it. Couples are required to sign the agreement. Prenuptial agreements can cover a broad range of issues, such as alimony and equitable distribution, but may not put any limits or restrict in any way the payment of child support. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney.
Common Reasons For Not Pursuing A Prenuptial Agreement
The most common reason for not doing a prenuptial agreement usually involves the couple feeling that if either is expecting a divorce, then maybe they shouldn’t be getting married after all. While no couple expects to need a prenuptial agreement, engaging in discussions regarding one can actually be a sign of trust and openness.
Many people also think prenuptial agreements are only for the very wealthy. However, life events can change your income and assets. Wealth or property gained through a relative’s estate plan, for example, can greatly increase personal assets. Obtaining an advanced degree will improve income-earning ability. Conversely, staying at home to care for children can reduce the ability to find high-income employment, so spelling out alimony or spousal maintenance in your prenuptial agreement can allow the stay-at-home parent financial security in the future.
Contact A Family Law Attorney With Further Questions
An experienced family law attorney can help you decide if a prenuptial agreement is right for you. For example, in equitable distribution states, like New Jersey, inheritances can be protected in divorce if the inheritance was not comingled even without a prenuptial agreement. Only an experienced New Jersey family law attorney can prepare an individualized prenuptial agreement that is right for you.
Learn more about Family Law at Morris, Downing, Sherred LLP.