Prenuptial Agreements vs. Post-Marriage Agreements: How Do They Differ in New Jersey?
Prenuptial Agreements vs. Post-Marriage Agreements in NJ
Whether you have heard the term in passing or in a news report, or have read about it in an article, such as the one previously posted to our blog on May 11th, most people are familiar with the term ‘prenuptial agreement.’ A prenuptial agreement is a contract made between two people planning to marry who want to address issues such as alimony and the division of assets that will take place upon their divorce or death. The terms of the prenuptial agreement will be enforced upon their divorce of either party’s death unless, for whatever reason, a Court finds a portion or the entire agreement unenforceable.
The major difference between a prenuptial and a post-marriage agreement is obvious: whereas a prenuptial agreement is executed prior to the marriage, a post marriage agreement is signed during a marriage. At its core, a post-marriage agreement still covers the same issues as a prenuptial agreement. A post marriage agreement is signed, witnessed, and notarized just like a prenuptial agreement. If the couple divorces or either party dies, the post-marriage agreement will come into play as will the prenuptial agreement.
The question then becomes, when is a post-marriage agreement something to consider? If the parties did not enter into a prenuptial agreement and want to address, among other things, how their assets will be distributed in the event of divorce or death, they may want to discuss a post-marriage agreement with a lawyer skilled in drafting such agreement. Or, if their financial situation has changed significantly since the time that they got married, a post-marriage agreement may be something they should consider.
Case law requires that a post-marriage agreement in New Jersey be fair and equitable at the time a party seeks to enforce it. It is obvious that in the heat of divorce a spouse may attempt to have any post-marriage agreement that does not work in his or her favor deemed unenforceable. Since no one can predict that an agreement will be found “fair and equitable” in the future, it is vital to have your post-marriage agreement drafted by an attorney who will make the document as airtight as possible to reduce the possibility of a Court finding it unenforceable in the event of divorce.
Post-marriage agreements are not that common and raising the possibility of entering into such an agreement may even cause dissension in a marriage. If you are wondering whether a post-marriage agreement would be appropriate for you and your spouse, it is important to obtain a skilled attorney to help you answer that question. Please call our office today at (201) 487-1199 to begin to explore your options or visit our website at www.aronssolomon.com.