Prenuptial agreements or “prenups” are often used when celebrities tie the knot, but anyone who has personal or business assets to protect could benefit from the use of a prenuptial agreement.
In its most basic form, a prenup lists assets that are protected in the event of a divorce. This means that those assets will remain with the original owner, and the new spouse cannot get access to them in a division of property settlement. In addition, prenups can specify how future income or additional assets will be shared, if at all.
Having a prenuptial agreement has many benefits such as:
- Preventing surprises by laying out the expectations of both spouses before the marriage
- Simplifying division of property issues by clearly identifying who owns what
- Designating spousal support
- Designating death benefits
The only thing that prenuptial agreements cannot direct is with regard to children, such as child support, child custody and visitation.
Prenups are presumed valid and enforceable by a court so long as certain conditions are met. These can include signing the agreement well in advance of the marriage and both parties having their own independent counsel. Basically, prenups are enforceable as long as neither party is forced to sign the agreement.
Even if a couple did not enter into a prenuptial agreement before they were married, New Jersey couples may still have the option of entering into such an agreement once they are married. Although a postnuptial agreement will not be presumed valid, it can be upheld in a court of law if it is properly drafted and executed, and the court considers it to have been fair at the time it was entered into.
States vary as to the rules governing divorce, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. New Jersey couples who would like to enter into one of these agreements should seek the help of an experienced family law attorney.
Source: msnbc.com, “Signing a prenup: In case ‘I do’ becomes ‘I don’t’, They aren’t just for celebrities anymore,” Robert DiGiacomo, Aug. 24 2011