Most of our readers in New Jersey know that prenuptial agreements – or “prenups” – are agreements that couples enter into prior to marriage to come to terms on potential issues if the marriage ends in divorce. Many people probably think, “That’s not very romantic.” And, just before a wedding, it probably isn’t. However, these agreements can be negotiated and signed months prior to a marriage. There are some basics about prenuptial agreements that New Jersey residents should know.
For starters, the main focus of prenuptial agreements is usually money-related. Both assets and debts can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. And, oftentimes these agreements are negotiated when one person in the couple is significantly better situated than the other. For instance, perhaps one person has wealth that has been passed down through family generations, while the other is saddled with thousands of dollars in student loan debt. In such a situation, a prenup could be negotiated to state that certain assets will not be co-mingled during the marriage or thought of a community property during a divorce, and could also state that each person’s debts accrued prior to the marriage will stay separate as well.
In reality, there is usually only one situation in which the prenuptial agreement will actually come into play: a divorce. No one goes into a marriage expecting it to end in a divorce, but, if it does, a prenuptial agreement can be extremely helpful in making certain parts of the divorce more streamlined and manageable, particularly property and debt division.
Prenuptial agreements are contracts. Thus, they must be carefully drafted and adhere to the appropriate legal requirements to be enforceable. New Jersey residents who are considering prenuptial agreements may want to get more information about their legal options.