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Can alimony be addressed in a premarital agreement?

by | Jul 20, 2018 | Alimony

This blog has on previous occasions discussed prenuptial agreements, which, under New Jersey law, are technically referred to as premarital agreements. While premarital agreements are commonly thought of in the context of an absolute divorce, New Jersey residents may wish to enter in to one for a variety of reasons, even if they have every intention of staying legally married.

Most items that would come up in the event of a divorce are items that two would-be spouses can agree to as part of a premarital agreement. Alimony, or spousal support, is one such item. In other words, under the law, the couple can agree as to who will pay how much alimony and for how long.

The agreement may also prescribe a formula for how alimony will get calculated and may even waive alimony altogether. In theory, couples have many options with respect to resolving this issue.

However, it is important for the couple to remember that the premarital agreement itself has to satisfy the requirements of New Jersey law before it will be enforced. Technical requirements aside, this means that the agreement cannot be what the law calls unconscionable at the time it is getting enforced.

In other words, and by way of example, if a spouse is going to need alimony in order to stay afloat financially, a court may well choose to set aside the agreement altogether or, alternatively, ignore any waiver of spousal support that is in the premarital agreement.

Likewise, at the time the agreement was signed, the person who signed it has to have been provided a complete disclosure of the other person’s income, property and debt. Moreover, the person who, say, limited his or her right to alimony by signing an agreement is going to have to have also expressly waived both his or her right to further financial information and his or her right to speak with his or her own attorney.