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What Is A Mid Marriage Agreement

A mid-marriage agreement is a marital agreement that parties enter into after they have been married. Mid-marriage agreements are usually entered into by a husband and wife to define certain property rights and other issues. Mid-marriage agreements are often entered into before the marriage loses all of its vitality. This stands in contrast to a property settlement agreement, which is entered into at the conclusion of divorce proceedings and consequently when the marriage has lost its vitality. Mid-marriage agreements are also completely different from prenuptial agreements, which are entered into prior to the inception of the marriage (either party to a prenuptial agreement is free to walk away and not to enter the marriage). The key to the enforceability of mid-marriage agreements is whether the agreement is fair and equitable.

The leading case addressing mid-marriage agreements is Pacelli v. Pacelli, 319 N.J. Super. 185 (App. Div. 1999). In Pacelli, the parties had two children. The husband therein presented the wife with his ultimatum under the guise of the mid-marriage agreement. In that case, the wife was forced with a more difficult choice than the bride who is presented with a demand for a prenuptial agreement (i.e. the destruction of a family and the stigma of a failed marriage). Id.