A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement or “prenup”, is a contract entered into by a couple prior to getting married or entering a civil union. It defines the rights and obligations of each party in the event of a divorce or the death of either party. Among other things, premarital agreement typically clarifies issues of division of property and alimony. New Jersey courts will uphold properly drafted prenuptial agreements. Conversely, prenuptial agreements that are poorly or improperly written may not be enforceable in court.
Enforcing a Prenuptial Agreement in New Jersey
In New Jersey, prenuptial agreements are governed by the 1998 New Jersey statute known as the Uniform Premarital & Pre-Civil Union Agreement (UPAA), N.J.S.A. 37:2-31 to 37:2-41. The UPAA states that all New Jersey premarital agreements must be in writing, signed by both parties, with a statement of assets attached. The agreement becomes effective upon the marriage or civil union of the couple. After the marriage or civil union of the parties, the prenup may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties.
At the time of divorce or dissolution of a civil union, if either spouse or partner questions the validity of a New Jersey prenuptial agreement, there are several factors a New Jersey court considers to determine its enforceability. The court will consider if the challenging party entered into the prenuptial agreement voluntarily and if they had enough time to review the agreement. Next, the court will look to determine if the challenging party had the prenuptial agreement reviewed by their own attorney. Each party entering into a prenup must have their own attorney review the terms before executing the finalized prenuptial agreement.
A New Jersey prenuptial agreement may not be enforceable if a spouse failed to disclose all of their assets. A financial statement that includes all earnings, property owned, and other financial obligations must be included with the prenup. If the challenging party can prove that one of the requirements for enforceability was not met, the prenuptial agreement will not be enforced by the New Jersey courts.
However, if the challenging party fails to prove at least one of the above criteria, the only way that the court will refuse to enforce a New Jersey prenuptial agreement is if the challenging party can prove that it is “unconscionable”. A New Jersey court will find a prenuptial agreement to be unconscionable if the challenging party is left without a means of reasonable support; the challenging party becomes a charge of the state; or the challenging party’s resulting standard of living is far below that enjoyed before the marriage.
New Jersey Family Law Attorney Prepares Enforceable Prenuptial Agreements
Chairman of Cooper Levenson’s Family Law Practice Group focuses exclusively on family and divorce law. The Cherry Hill-area family law firm of has prepared a wide variety of premarital agreements for clients of varying familial and financial circumstances. He has drafted enforceable prenuptial agreements for situations ranging from the common second marriage scenario to the complex financial situations involving professional practices – medical, dental, legal and other general businesses. Having a skilled matrimonial lawyer negotiate and draft an enforceable prenuptial agreement is critical to avoid lengthy and costly litigation in the future, protect your assets and save you significant emotional and financial expense.
Attorney is a skilled and knowledgeable New Jersey divorce attorney with over thirty years of experience. His office is conveniently located in Cherry Hill, Camden County, New Jersey. Practices throughout New Jersey, including the South Jersey communities of Cherry Hill, Mt. Laurel, Marlton, Moorestown, Medford, Haddonfield, Haddon Heights, Burlington, Camden County, Gloucester County and Salem County. For more information about prenuptial agreements, call our office today at 856-857-5526 or contact us online.