Many couples do not get a prenuptial agreement before they are married. This is understandable, as newlyweds are presumably in love and are looking forward to their future together. Generally, most couples continue to feel this way until the very end, which is a beautiful thing. However, this is not always the case, and when couples do not draft a prenuptial agreement, they sometimes open themselves up to the pitfalls of the litigation process. This is why very many married couples, regardless of the state of their marriage, will agree to draft a postnuptial agreement. If this sounds like something that may appeal to you and your spouse, here are some of the questions you may have:
What does a postnuptial agreement do?
A postnuptial agreement can tackle several financial issues left unprotected when a couple does not draft a prenuptial agreement before marriage. Generally, a postnuptial agreement functions the same as a prenuptial agreement; the only central difference being it is drafted after a couple’s marriage is official. However, while you may have a valid reason to approach your partner about a postnuptial agreement, you should keep in mind that this can be a touchy subject, and understandably so. This is why you must honestly and openly explain why you feel this is the best decision, ensuring you are both on the same page before proceeding. Some of the many reasons couples will draft a postnuptial agreement are as follows:
- A couple wishes to clarify how property and assets will be divided if they divorce
- A couple wishes to specify how marital debts, such as mortgage loans, credit card debt, and more will be divided in the event of a divorce
- A couple wants to specify how assets will be handled if either spouse dies during the marriage
- A significant change in financial circumstances, such as a job promotion or one spouse has received a large inheritance
- One or both parties seek to define each of their wishes for the property they purchased or owned before their marriage
What constitutes a valid postnuptial agreement in the state of New Jersey?
The five main qualifiers for a valid New Jersey postnuptial agreement are as follows:
- Each party must retain separate legal counsel, or explicitly waive their right to counsel in writing
- The financial status of each party and any of the assets discussed in the agreement must be fully and accurately disclosed
- Both parties must have a reasonable amount of time to reach a thoughtful decision regarding whether or not they should sign the agreement
- There must be no evidence of manipulation or deceit by either party
- The terms must be “fair and reasonable” to both parties
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