What to Include in Your Prenuptial Agreement
In a perfect world donuts would be low calorie, every day would be Saturday, and prenuptial agreements would not need to exist. Unfortunately, none of those things are true. While no one plans on getting a divorce, planning for the worst cannot hurt. In fact, many of our clients find the exercise of drafting and signing a pre-marital agreement to be educational and helpful even when it is never put into action.
Today, our divorce and marital agreement attorney will be discussing what generally goes into prenuptial agreements, why these items should be included, and how best to protect both you and your soon-to-be spouse’s best interests.
Union County Family Law Attorney Helps To Clarify Marital Finances
Before getting into considerations which will come about during your marriage, future spouses must first establish their current financial situations. This may include checking, savings, and retirement accounts, owned properties, income, and any outstanding debts. It is important to understand that your prenuptial agreement will only be valid and enforceable if both parties are truthful during these part of the process. If it is found later that either party was lying or withholding information, the entire agreement may be disputed.
There are two primary options for premarital assets, they can either be retained and held separately or commingled. If you and your partner choose to commingle assets and get a divorce down the road, assets will be separated using New Jersey equitable distribution laws.
Marital property may also be considered in a prenuptial agreement including most assets which were purchased or otherwise accumulated during your marriage. There are several ways in which you and your partner can agree to divide marital property. Speak to our Union County attorneys for more specifics on the available options.
Westfield Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer Outlines Other Considerations
Before getting into other considerations, it is important to note that any issues regarding child support or child custody may not be addressed in any premarital agreements in New Jersey. This is because those specific topics are considered “best interest”, meaning that laws are intended to provide for the best interest of the children, not the parents. Because of this distinction, it is impossible to pre-determine what will be best for a child many years in the future or in some cases before the child is born.
However, common considerations which are often tackled in prenuptial agreements include:
- Alimony and spousal support terms
- Wills, trusts, or other arrangements in the case of the death of either spouse
- Ownership rights or death benefits for life insurance policies
- Considerations for children from previous relationships or marriages
- Dictate who will be financially responsible for certain aspects of your marital life such as household bills, expenses, mortgage payments, and more
- Declaring what laws will govern your agreements (New Jersey vs. Pennsylvania, etc.)
Plainfield Premarital Agreement Attorney: What to Avoid in a Prenuptial Agreement
Beyond child custody and child support terms, which are not legally enforceable, there are a handful of other topics which our premarital legal team tends to steer clear of due to legal grey areas. These can include:
Illegal activities – any provisions which include illegal activities in your prenuptial agreement may cause the entire document to become void.
Waiving future alimony – while alimony considerations in prenuptial agreements may be enforceable, waiving the right to future alimony will often be struck down by a judge.
Personal preferences – prenuptial agreements are legal contracts, and cannot be used to say who will do the dishes, whether a wife will take a husband’s last name, what color paint will be used on the walls of your homes, or other personal issues.
Incentivizing divorce – any terms which include financial or other incentives to divorce a spouse are not legally enforceable.
Contact a Linden Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Today
Attorney Edward S. Cooper has extensive experience assisting couples who are interested in protecting their financial and legal rights through a prenuptial agreement in local New Jersey towns including Westfield, Plainfield, Linden, Elizabeth, Scotch Plains, Union, and the greater Union County area. Attorney Cooper believes that taking the time to draft and sign prenuptial agreements is a prudent and forward thinking step for happy couples. While he hopes they never need to be used, our firm takes the approach that it is better to have an agreement and not need it, than to need an agreement and not have it.
Contact us online or through or our Linden offices by calling (908) 481-4625 today to speak with Edward Cooper regarding your prenuptial or other premarital agreements, and to learn more about how our firm can best serve your needs.