It’s a touchy subject, we know. But, if you’re doing research about prenuptial or mid-marriage agreements online, there is a good chance that it is worth discussing the prospect of signing an agreement with your fiancé or spouse.
Also, if you believe that it may be in your best interests to sign an agreement, it is important for you to know that there are tactful and non-adversarial ways to talk about it. In fact, there are a number of issues that it will be in both spouses’ best interests to address in writing; and, contrary to popular belief, signing a prenuptial or mid-marriage agreement is about much more than simply “planning for divorce.”
The following are six reasons to consider a prenuptial or mid-marriage agreement in New Jersey:
1. Protecting Your “Separate” Property
To be sure, there are certain divorce-related aspects to signing a prenuptial or mid-marriage agreement. For example, as you may know, one of the primary reasons why fiancés enter into prenuptial agreements is to protect their personal and real property. While assets owned prior to the date of marriage are generally considered “separate” property that is not subject to division in a divorce under New Jersey law, there are exceptions, and often both spouses will benefit from making clear that assets will remain theirs in the event of a divorce.
2. Clarifying Responsibility for Debts
A premarital or mid-marriage agreement can provide clarity regarding the spouses’ respective obligations for individually-incurred debts as well. For example, a prenuptial agreement could state that one spouse will remain solely responsible for paying off his or her credit card debt.
Conversely, an agreement could state that a high-earning spouse will help pay off the other spouse’s outstanding school loans. There are many different options, and setting clear expectations up front can help avoid contentious disputes later on.
3. Establishing Parameters for Financial Management
Similarly, many couples choose to use prenuptial and mid-marriage agreements to establish parameters for financial management. This can include everything from appointing one spouse to be responsible for paying the family’s monthly bills to setting savings goals and imposing limits on discretionary spending.
4. Addressing Issues Related to Children from Prior Marriages
If one or both fiancés or spouses have children from prior marriages, it will often be in both parties’ best interests to establish terms regarding financial support, gifts, parenting time, and related matters.
5. Addressing Issues Related to Business Ownership and Control
A privately-held business is a form of property; and, while a business is very different from a car or bank account, it is subject to the same basic rules of property distribution under New Jersey’s divorce laws. Additionally, disputes about joint management, spousal employment, reinvestment of profits, and various other business-related issues can lead to conflicts during the marriage – not to mention adding multiple layers of complexity in the event of a divorce.
6. Establishing Parameters for Resolving Disputes
Disagreements are a part of marriage, and both spouses feeling comfortable to speak their minds can be a sign of a healthy relationship. But, sometimes, spouses can find it difficult to come to terms. In order to prevent disagreements from leading to feelings of resentment, hostility, and possibly even divorce, fiancés and spouses can incorporate dispute resolution provisions (such as a requirement to go to therapy or use mediation) into their prenuptial and mid-marriage agreements.
Speak with a New Jersey Family Law Attorney at Schultz & Associates
Our New Jersey family law attorneys have helped numerous clients craft and enter into custom-tailored prenuptial and mid-marriage agreements. If you have questions and would like to speak with an attorney, please call (201) 430-7845 or request a confidential consultation online today.