We all like to believe our love and marriage will last forever, but for your peace of mind, it is sometimes practical to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Prenuptial agreements, which are often simply referred to as prenups, provide a way to protect significant personal assets in the event of divorce. When properly established, a prenuptial agreement can protect homes, investments, business assets and other personal properties.
This page contains basic information about prenuptial agreements in New Jersey, but it is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney to determine if a prenuptial agreement may benefit you. Please call The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone at 201-963-6000 to schedule your personal consultation; Mr. Carbone welcomes clients from the greater Jersey City and Newark areas.
What Exactly is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenup is a way to keep personal assets acquired prior to the marriage from being considered marital property. In New Jersey, all marital property is subject to equitable division should divorce occur; personal property established in a prenuptial agreement may be exempt from the division or may be divided according to terms other than what the court may deem “equitable.”
Prenuptial agreements can also be used to determine the rights of a spouse regarding such assets during the course of the marriage. For example, you may establish whether a spouse is able to sell a property, be granted power of attorney should you become incapacitated, or wield a vote with your shares in a business.
Prenups cannot be used to determine child custody, child support, or other aspects of parental rights and obligations.
When is a Prenuptial Agreement Recommended?
A prenup may be recommended if:
- You have significant personal property, such as family property or property in which others also have interest
- You own a business
- You have substantial investment assets
- You earn significantly more than your spouse-to-be
- Your spouse-to-be has sizable debt
In these circumstances and others, a prenuptial agreement can help protect your property during marriage and in the event of divorce.
Are Prenups Always Enforceable?
Prenuptial agreements are not automatically recognized by New Jersey courts. It is important to craft your prenuptial agreement with great care and the help of an experienced lawyer who understands how to create an enforceable agreement.
In family law, the underlying goal is to ensure that every family member is properly cared for and the best interests of any minor children are protected. A prenuptial agreement that inherently disadvantages a spouse may not be honored.
To learn more about the benefits of prenuptial agreements and their role in asset division should divorce occur, please contact The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone to schedule your confidential consultation. Mr. Carbone welcomes clients from the greater Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey, areas.