Laws Governing Prenups in NJ
The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act is what governs these agreements in New Jersey. In order for this to be deemed valid, there must be a statement of assets attached to it and the agreement has to be in writing. It officially becomes effective when the parties get married.
Prenups are valuable planning tools, but you should always ensure that you know what you’re signing in order to avoid serious problems with your case. It can be very frustrating to find yourself dealing with the consequences of a prenup that was poorly drafted. You should always use your own attorney to be sure so that you know what the document actually states.
Since prospective husbands and wives enter into premarital agreements before they are married, a properly drafted document can save them significant financial and emotional expenses if they get divorced. If you are currently facing divorce, you may have questions about whether or not an existing prenuptial agreement is invalid or how it might influence your case.
There are certain areas allowed under New Jersey law when it comes to couples negotiating premarital agreement aspects. For example, the parties can agree about the obligations and rights of each person with regard to the property of either one of them or both of them, wherever or whenever it was acquired before the marriage. They can also discuss and negotiate the rights to exchange, buy, abandon, sell, use, lease, consume, transfer, assign, encumber dispose of or control and manage that property. The elimination of spousal support and the ownership rights in the disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy may also be included in a prenuptial agreement.
Any other matter that is not in violation of public policy may also be included in a New Jersey premarital agreement. However, the establishment of invalid terms inside a New Jersey premarital agreement could make it more difficult for the entire document to be upheld in the event of a divorce. This is why it is extremely important that both parties have their own attorneys present to review the documents and verify that they are legally valid and that no party has been coerced into it. For example, a premarital agreement cannot limit or eliminate any child support or any other child related financial support. This can include the costs associated with maintaining life insurance or health insurance. Furthermore, a premarital agreement cannot dictate future child custody decisions associated with children that are born of the marriage. Child support provisions are governed by separate rule that take into account the best needs of the child, so any waiver of child support is invalid. The welfare of the child born after the marriage will be evaluated carefully by a family court judge and therefore, any agreement associated with child custody that is listed in a prenuptial agreement may render the entire document invalid.
Furthermore, if there is any indication that one party was coerced into signing a document or was not of sound mind to agree to it in the first place, this could render the document invalid. Understanding how an existing premarital agreement may influence your current New Jersey divorce is important. Do not hesitate to get help from an experienced attorney immediately.
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