Engaged and excited? You should be—but you should also be pragmatic. Nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce and even when you're certain that your marriage won't be one of them, a prenuptial agreement can serve as an essential insurance policy against the unexpected.
Also known as premarital agreements, antenuptial agreements, or simply prenups, prenuptial agreements are contracts made between prospective spouses prior to marriage that outline terms for asset division, alimony, and other financial matters in the event of a divorce. These agreements not only protect your assets and economic interests should the marriage fail, but can also expedite the divorce process, saving you significant time, heartache, and expense.
At Carl Taylor Law, LLC, we know that prenups can be a sensitive issue. However, rather than denoting a lack of trust in your partner, antenuptial agreements demonstrate practicality and provide peace of mind. Our accomplished divorce and family law attorneys Carl Taylor and Lisa Stein-Browning can help you create a fair and conscientious premarital agreement—so you can both hope for the best and be protected against the worst.
The Benefits of a New Jersey Prenup
In a New Jersey divorce, when spouses can't reach an agreement regarding the division of assets, the court will divide the marital property in accordance with the state's equitable distribution statute. Under this standard, marital assets and property are divided fairly, though not necessarily evenly—and you and the court may have very different ideas about what's fair. A prenuptial agreement protects your premarital assets and exempts your property from court-ordered equitable distribution in divorce. Antenuptial agreements can also be used to set terms and amounts for alimony, or wave it, as well as determine the division of things like stocks, bonds, investments, and complex financial security holdings.
Making these determinations before you're married, rather than waiting until your marriage is ending, allows you to make the best decisions possible—without the negative emotions that often accompany separation or divorce getting in the way and leading to lengthy and costly litigation.
When to Consider a Prenuptial Agreement
While a prenuptial agreement may not be necessary for every marital union, in some cases, saying, “I do,” without a prenup can put your future financial well-being at serious risk. Strongly consider a New Jersey prenuptial agreement if you:
- Own a business
- Were previously married
- Have children from a prior relationship or marriage
- Expect to receive a sizable inheritance or financial gift
- Are the beneficiary of a trust
- Earn a significantly higher income than your spouse
- Have more assets than your spouse
- Are marrying someone with substantial debts or student loans
Prenuptial Agreement Legal Requirements
Once you and your soon-to-be spouse have decided the terms of your prenuptial agreement, the state of New Jersey requires you to take the following steps to make the contract legally valid:
- Have the agreement in writing
- Have the agreement signed by both spouses
- Attach a statement fully disclosing all assets
- Obtain independent legal representation
- Attest that you're entering the agreement voluntarily
- Provide both parties sufficient time to consider the terms of the agreement
Why You Need a Skilled Flemington, NJ Divorce Attorney
No one plans for their marriage to fail, but with our help, you can plan the terms of a potential future divorce. At Carl Taylor Law, LLC, our attorneys can help you create a highly personalized and legally valid prenuptial agreement to protect your assets, interests—and future—in the event that something goes wrong. And, if you've been asked to sign a New Jersey premarital agreement, we can review the contract and help you understand your legal rights and options.
Getting married in New Jersey and want to learn more about antenuptial agreements? Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a private consultation.