Prenuptial Agreements Are Increasingly More Common

An increasing number of American couples signed prenuptial agreements in the past five years according to a recent poll of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Prenuptial agreements are generally more accepted as an effective way to protect assets in case the marriage does not work out, said AAML president Marlene Eskind Moses.

A majority of the AAML members surveyed also said that an increasing number of women initiate prenuptial agreements and 36 percent of members surveyed noted that more prenuptial agreements include provisions for pensions and retirement benefits. Eskind attributed the increased emphasis on retirement benefits to more people marrying or remarrying at older ages.

Prenuptial agreements are legally recognized in New Jersey but any agreement must satisfy statutory criteria for the agreement to be valid. If the statutory criteria are satisfied then the prenuptial agreement is binding on both spouses even if the agreement produces a different result than what would otherwise arise under New Jersey family law in absence of an agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is a legally enforceable contract so both spouses should be represented by lawyers . A court challenge to a prenuptial agreement is more likely if a couple enters into a prenuptial agreement in a hurry or if one spouse is not represented by an attorney.

Although discussing a prenuptial agreement with a future spouse can be difficult, a prenuptial agreement can also strengthen a marriage. Prenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements, can help set expectations for the marriage up front and protect the interests of children a previous marriage or a spouse’s business.

Source: Courier Post, “Not all premarriage contracts hold up in New Jersey,” Michael Riley, 2/27/11