We’ve partnered with the law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, P.C. to offer advice in case you are planning on getting married and thinking of a prenuptial agreement.      


Prenuptial Contract - What does it mean to Sign One?
Photo Credit- iStockphoto


When basking in the bliss of engagement and impending marriage, people often don’t want to have to think about the “what ifs” of the future. And if they do, their soon to be spouse, may not.  Maybe they are even afraid to raise the issue with one another, embarrassed to discuss it and unsure if it is the right thing to do. But, in today’s world, where people are getting married later in life, getting married for the second or third time and where divorce is more prevalent, we have no choice but to think about the future while living in the present.


Despite what people may think, prenuptial agreements are not taboo, they are not wrong, and they certainly do not mean that you are giving up on marriage before even saying “I do”.  Rather, prenuptial agreements are a way to plan for the future and to organize your finances.  It is a way to communicate the “what ifs” and ensure that you and your soon to be spouse are on the same page.


Prenuptial agreements can be crafted to address various different issues. Customarily, they fall into 2 categories; the terms of settlement in the event of divorce; and the rights and liabilities of the surviving spouse in the event of death.


In New Jersey, a Prenuptial or Pre-Marital Agreement must meet certain statutory guidelines to be deemed valid and enforceable. The Agreement is guided by N.J.S.A. 37:2-31 to -41, which requires that it be in writing, with a statement of assets and liabilities annexed thereto and that it be signed by both parties. It is strongly recommended that both parties be represented by independent counsel. Furthermore, the over arching idea is that the Agreement not be deemed unconscionable at the time it is enforced.  The underlying purpose of attaching a statement of assets and liabilities is to ensure a complete disclosure between the parties. After all, an individual cannot waive their right to something that they do not know exists.


With respect to the content of a Prenuptial Agreement, the statute permits parties to contract with respect to their rights and liabilities pertaining to their own property, the right to support, the drafting of will or trust documents, ownership rights regarding life insurance, choice of law and any other matter which includes their personal rights and obligations, which are not in violation of public policy. See N.J.S.A. 37-2:34.


It is no secret that there is a high level of acrimony commonly associated with divorces. Consequently, it makes sense that a well thought out, well communicated plan for support and a division of property, would be best negotiated and resolved when the parties are getting along. Moreover, a Judge has wide discretion in applying the law to the facts of each case.  Isn’t it best to take matters into your own hands, rather than leave them to chance in the Court?

We’ve partnered with the law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, P.C., to bring you this advice.  If you have a question on a legal issue, you can send it to the firm by texting the word ‘LAW’ to 89000, or email them directly at mailto:question@szaferman.com.

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