Prenuptial Agreement FAQ
For those about to wed, a conversation should take place regarding how property should be divided in the event of a divorce or separation. New Jersey Supreme Court’s board-certified attorney Frank E. Tournour of East Brunswick, NJ, explains why couples should consider prenuptial agreements, what the agreements should address, when the agreement should be made, and other aspects of this common and often vastly beneficial measure.
Should I Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?
The choice to have a prenuptial agreement is something every couple should discuss if they are thinking about getting married and sharing assets. This should include discussion of the division and ownership of property and debts, spousal support, and inheritance of property.
Prenuptial agreements are only legally binding concerning property and finances. They do not address the terms of a marriage, or determine any circumstances dealing with the care of children.
Only you and your partner can determine whether you wish to enter a prenuptial agreement, but we recommend you consider this step if:
- You own one or more businesses or own your own practice
- You expect to see an increase in income or have a career in a lucrative professional field
- One party expects to receive a large inheritance, or is much wealthier than the other
- One party plans to support the other as they continue their education
- You have family members who will need a secure financial future
What Should Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are only legally binding as they pertain to property and finances. They do not address the terms of a marriage, nor do they determine any circumstances dealing with the care of a child in the event of separation. Child custody courts will determine what is in the best interest of a child should the parents divorce.
When Should We Sign Our Prenuptial Agreement?
We recommend you sign the agreement at least 30 days before the planned date for the wedding. This allows both parties ample time to consider the terms of the agreement carefully, making it less likely to be challenged and more defensible in court.
What Is the Difference between Separate and Marital Property?
Separate property refers to anything owned prior to the marriage or after having filed for divorce or separation. Marital property is that which was acquired during the marriage, and it must be divided in the event of divorce or separation. A prenuptial agreement can distinguish these properties and make the division process simpler if you and your spouse choose to end your marriage.
What Are the Requirements For a Prenuptial Agreement to Be Valid and Legally Enforceable?
A prenuptial agreement should be made in writing, and it should be signed and witnessed. Both parties must provide complete disclosure of all financial assets and liabilities. If legal representation is involved, both parties must have access to separate legal counsel to ensure they receive fair, unbiased advice. All provisions made in an agreement must be allowed by law, and there must be no evidence that either party was coerced or unduly influenced to agree to the terms.
Frank Tournour can help you create a prenuptial agreement that protects your best interests. We provide both legal services for both traditional prenuptials and premarital mediation. Contact our law offices today by phone at 732-418-9772 or visit us online to schedule a consultation.