Postnuptial Agreement Attorneys Morris County, NJ
Serving Families across Chester, Mendham, Chatham, Harding, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area
Just as with other types of marital agreements like prenuptial agreements and nonmarital agreements, postnuptial agreements can be a very useful legal tool for married couples who wish to address different financial rights, financial obligations, and legal responsibilities for both parties in the event of a divorce, or death.
Contrary to popular opinion, creating, and signing, a postnuptial agreement can often strengthen a marriage as it allows both parties to feel more secure in their financial future, and requires cooperation and communication between the parties. And while no party ever enters into a marriage believing or hoping that it will end in divorce, the sad fact is that almost 50% of New Jersey marriages do end in divorce, so having a signed postnuptial agreement can alleviate much of the stress, contention, and expense often associated with the division of marital assets and debt process.
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients across the greater Morris County area to successfully draft and sign legally enforceable and fair postnuptial agreements.
If you are curious about your options regarding creating a postnuptial agreement, or in need of legal counsel regarding determining the validity of an existing postnuptial agreement, contact our firm today to discuss your situation and needs in a free and confidential consultation.
When Should I Create a Postnuptial Agreement?
Postnuptial agreements, as its name suggests, are legal agreements signed between an already married couple. As with prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements are designed to help one or both parties of a marriage to protect and define individual rights pertaining to assets or income in the event of divorce or death.
Some of the most common reasons married couples enter into a postnuptial agreement include:
- They didn’t define their financial relationship in a prenuptial agreement, and now wish to
- One party’s financial circumstances have changed significantly, for example, receipt of a large inheritance, promotion or new employment, the acquisition of stock options, or the pending sale of a business
- Financial insecurity or uncertainty is damaging the marriage
- The couple wishes to define the equitable distribution of assets rather than have it defined for them by a court
- One or both parties wishes to provide for children from a previous marriage
While these are some of the most common scenarios when a couple will pursue a postnuptial agreement, the reality is that they can be pursued any time one or both parties wishes to protect specific assets or define the individual legal and financial rights and obligations of both parties.
Is My Morris County Postnuptial Agreement Valid?
While prenuptial and postnuptial agreements share the same requirements in order to be considered legal and enforceable, it is important to keep in mind that postnuptial agreements, unlike prenuptial agreements, are generally viewed by family courts with a certain degree of skepticism and suspicion. Owing to the contexts surrounding these different agreements, family courts will consider couples entering into a prenuptial agreement as “business partners entering a contract”, while after a marriage, the parties are now in a “fiduciary” relationship with one another, and many times one party will feel pressured by the other, for a variety of reasons, to sign the postnuptial agreement.
With this in mind, it is still possible to create legally valid and enforceable postnuptial agreements, but there must be no question whatsoever of coercion, manipulation, or duress by one party to the other. If, for example, one spouse says to the other “if you don’t sign a postnuptial agreement, I will file for divorce”, that immediately invalidates any postnuptial agreement that is ultimately signed, as one party is “coercing” the other into signing.
Like prenuptial agreements, in order for a postnuptial agreement to be considered legally valid and enforceable, several important requirements will need to be met:
- Legal Representation – Each party retains separate legal counsel, or explicitly waives their right to counsel in writing.
- Full Disclosure – Any of the financial assets discussed in the agreement are fully, and accurately, disclosed. For example, if a postnuptial agreement contains terms regarding a private business, if that business or any related component is inaccurately valued, either by mistake or consciously, the entirety of that postnuptial agreement will most likely be considered invalid.
- Fair and Reasonable – The terms outlined in a postnuptial agreement must be fair and reasonable to both parties. If a court determines that one party is overly benefited by the agreement, or one party is significantly disadvantaged, they may dismiss the legality of the postnuptial agreement.
- Willful Participation – There must be no evidence of duress, manipulation, coercion, or deceit by one party to the other.
- Time for Consideration – Finally, both parties must be given a reasonable amount of time to consider the postnuptial agreement, and reach an informed and thoughtful decision regarding whether or not to sign it.
One of the most critical requirements discussed above is that of full and accurate disclosure. This is one of the many reasons that having an experienced attorney who is familiar with not only legal agreements like postnuptial agreements but also familiar with business and complex asset evaluation can be so important. As noted, any inaccurate evaluation of assets discussed in a postnuptial agreement can invalidate the entire agreement, even if the inaccuracy was a mistake. At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys are intimately familiar with complex financial matters, and we are prepared to accurately and fairly help you divide complex assets like homes, properties, investments, retirement plans like 401ks, private and family-owned businesses, stock options, and any other complex financial asset in your postnuptial agreement.
Contact Our Chester Postnuptial Agreement Attorneys Today
The attorneys of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark have extensive experience helping clients to successfully negotiate, draft, contest, and enforce postnuptial agreements of all kinds across Morris County.
By practicing exclusively family law, our firm can focus on providing you with the knowledgeable, effective, attentive, and personal service that you deserve when it comes to issues affecting you and your family. Our firm features many attorneys repeatedly nominated to the Super Lawyers list as it relates to family law, a testament of our peer and industry recognition when it comes to our professional achievements for past clients.
To speak with our firm and one of our experienced family law attorneys today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your postnuptial agreement or any related issue, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 840-8970.