Arons & Solomon | March 13, 2022 | Family Law
There are many benefits of a prenuptial agreement. Couples entering into a prenuptial agreement negotiate the terms of the agreement with the assistance of their lawyers to ensure that the agreement is fair and includes all terms the parties wish to settle before marriage.
What Should I Include in a New Jersey Prenuptial Agreement?
As you prepare to meet with your Bergen County prenuptial agreements lawyer, some topics you should consider may include:
Alimony or Spousal Support
New Jersey does not impose alimony or spousal support guidelines on couples. A couple may negotiate any type or amount of alimony in a prenuptial agreement. However, there are rules regarding alimony payments that should be considered.
For example, permanent alimony is no longer ordered by New Jersey courts.
The courts may order a spouse to pay:
- Rehabilitative alimony
- Reimbursement alimony
- Open durational alimony
- Limited durational alimony
Open durational alimony replaced permanent alimony. The court considers numerous factors when deciding alimony cases. A prenuptial agreement avoids court interference in this decision.
New Jersey is an equitable division state for divorces. “Equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.” It means “fair.” For example, a judge may decide that an equitable resolution in a particular case is to split the marital assets 60/40 or 70/30. The judge may also order a 50/50 split.
A prenuptial agreement can designate how to divide property acquired before and during the marriage in the event of divorce. You and your partner may decide to designate certain property as separate, regardless of whether marital funds pay for the asset or you receive the property during the marriage. Likewise, you may include a provision that divides all property acquired during the marriage 50/50 except for specific items.
It can be helpful to consider what property you would not want to go to your spouse or your spouse’s family in a divorce. For example, family heirlooms, jewelry, and antiques are passed down through generations. Therefore, you need to designate those items in the prenup as separate property that will not be subject to property division in a divorce.
Division of Debts
Premarital debts can be a significant issue for couples. If one partner has significant debt, the prenuptial agreement should address responsibility for that debt. Addressing this issue protects the partner who is not legally responsible for the debt.
The agreement should also address how the parties intend to divide marital debt during a divorce. For example, do you want to divide the debt equally or examine who incurred the debt? Will you divide debt based on your income at the time of the divorce?
Beneficiary and Ownership Rights of Life Insurance Policies
Life insurance proceeds can be a significant asset when a spouse dies. A prenuptial agreement may designate that one or both spouses purchase and maintain specific amounts of life insurance coverage. The life insurance policies name the other spouse as the beneficiary during the marriage and after the divorce.
A couple may stipulate in a prenuptial agreement that the beneficiary remains the spouse until their last child reaches a specific age. At that time, the beneficiary designation changes to the children.
Life insurance may be included in an alimony or spousal support agreement.
Prenuptial agreements can settle issues related to inheritance from a spouse’s probate estate. For example, the parties may agree to set up a trust to handle the distribution of the marital estate. They may also agree that a spouse is entitled to a specific percentage of a deceased spouse’s estate.
Personal Rights and Responsibilities
You may include terms related to each spouse’s personal rights and responsibilities. For example, you may stipulate that each spouse must consult the other spouse before a major purchase. The agreement may define a major purchase as anything costing above a specified amount.
However, you cannot include terms that would be inconsistent with public policy.
Child Support and Child Custody
A judge determines what is in the best interest of the child. Therefore, any terms related to minor children are subject to review and modification by the courts.
Be Careful Not to Invalidate Your Prenuptial Agreement
When executed according to the laws of the New Jersey Uniform Premarital and Pre-Civil Union Agreement Act, a prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract. Therefore, you may sue your spouse for violating the terms of the agreement.
The best way to ensure that your prenuptial agreement is binding is to work with an experienced Bergen County family law attorney. An attorney understands the law and can help you avoid situations that invalidate your prenup. The goal of a prenup is to create a legally binding agreement that avoids divorce litigation if the parties decide to end the marriage.
Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help
Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule an appointment. to schedule a free consultation with our team.