New Jersey Prenuptial Agreements
A New Jersey prenuptial agreement, also referred to as an “antenuptial agreement” or simply a “prenup”, is a contract between soon to be spouses that defines the parties’ rights and obligations in the event of a divorce. In general, prenuptial agreements are looked at favorably by New Jersey Courts. However, prenuptial agreements have been invalidated if not drafted and executed properly.
New Jersey Law on Prenuptial Agreements
New Jersey prenuptial agreements executed on or after November 3, 1988, are governed by the provisions of the Uniform Premarital and Pre-Civil Union Agreement Act. (N.J.S.A. 37:2-31–N.J.S.A. 37:2-41). New Jersey case law plays an integral role in the interpretation of the Act.
To be enforceable in New Jersey, a prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement must have been executed voluntarily. In addition, New Jersey prohibits “unconscionable” prenuptial agreements. However, “unconscionable” is a technical term defined by a specific New Jersey statute. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. § 37:2-38(c):
The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed because that party, before execution of the agreement:
(1) Was not provided full and fair disclosure of the earnings, property and financial obligations of the other party;
(2) Did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided;
(3) Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party; or
(4) Did not consult with independent legal counsel and did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, the opportunity to consult with independent legal counsel.
In general, a prenuptial agreement will not be invalidated solely because the terms of the agreement may seem “unfair” or “one-sided”. Therefore, the best time to obtain an attorney to review a prenuptial agreement is before it is executed, not when it is being enforced against you.
What Does a New Jersey Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
A typical New Jersey prenuptial agreement may address any of the following:
- Property rights of each party to personal and real property acquired prior to the marriage;
- Property rights of each party to personal and real property acquired after the marriage;
- Spousal support (Alimony);
- Ownership and other rights in pensions and insurance policies;
- Any other matter, including personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy.
This list is not exclusive. For additional matters that may be covered, please see N.J.S.A. § 37:2-34.
One of the matters that typically can not be contracted for in a New Jersey prenuptial agreement is child support. (See N.J.S.A. § 37:2-35).
New Jersey Attorneys to Draft or Review your Prenuptial Agreement
We strongly recommend having a prenuptial agreement drafted and reviewed by an attorney prior to your wedding day. Although divorce may be an unforeseeable event at the time, the unfortunate fact is that approximately 50% of all marriages end in a divorce. A well-drafted prenuptial agreement can bring some certainty and resolve to an extremely difficult period of time.
We have experience drafting prenuptial agreements covering everything from basic personal property to complex multi-million dollar estates. Call the Law Offices of Michael Makarov, LLC to speak with an attorney directly about drafting, executing, or reviewing your prenuptial agreement.