New Jersey Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer
What is a Postnuptial Agreement, and Who Needs One?
A postnuptial agreement is a contract between spouses that is executed during the marriage. Postnups are also called mid-marriage agreements or reconciliation agreements. Like prenuptial agreements that are entered into by couples prior to marriage, postnups are used to protect assets and define financial responsibilities during marriage and in case of divorce.
Why would you need one if you are already married? You don’t. Besides that, post nuptial agreements are not a replacement for a prenuptial agreement just because you may have forgotten or ran out of time to do one before the marriage.
There are very specific requirements BEFORE you even qualify to be able to do a postnuptial agreement and make it a valid contract.
Assuming you and your spouse meet the qualifications for a post nuptial agreement, a postnup can also make divorcing less contentious because you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have already decided on how property will be divided, whether alimony will be paid, as well as outlining other arrangements.
Our Hackensack Family Lawyers Draft Postnups
Postnuptial agreements are tailored to individual situations. Whatever your reason for wanting a postnuptial agreement, our attorney at Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC will carefully assess your unique situation to prepare a mid-marriage agreement that meets your needs. We can also advise you about the validity of a previously drafted agreement.
Call our Bergen County law firm at (201) 880-9770 today to arrange a time to meet with an experienced postnuptial agreement lawyer.
What Should Be Included in a Postnup Agreement?
Understand the Reasons for Getting a Postnuptial Agreement
Married couples may get postnuptial agreements because in the absence of doing so, the relationship will proceed to a divorce and the division of assets and alimony will be guided by NJ Law. Postnuptial or mid marriage or reconciliation agreements are a couple’s last ditch attempt to salvage the marriage and if they cannot agree on the provision of a mid-marriage, reconciliation, or post nuptial agreement, the only other option is divorce proceedings. Some of the issues that can be addressed in an Agreement are: high-net-worth couples where we will define separate and shared property and how shared property will be divided in the event of a divorce
- Safeguarding businesses from possible divorce fallout
- The protocol should one spouse get a substantial inheritance, or if one spouse takes on excessive debt
- Safeguarding the financial interests of children from prior relationships
- Define whether alimony will be paid, and how much, should the marriage end
- Wish to define other financial responsibilities and terms moving forward because disputes about money are hurting the marriage
There are also things that postnups can’t include.
Child custody, visitation and child support can’t be decided in a postnuptial agreement. These issues are decided by the New Jersey Family court based on the best interests of children. Contact our law firm for answers to your questions about postnuptial agreements and guidance on drafting an agreement that protects your rights and interests. Call us at (201) 880-9770 today.
How Effective Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
Postnups Must Be Fair and Equitable Upon Execution and Enforcement
Even though postnuptial agreements offer protections similar to those found in prenups, which are governed by N.J. Stat. §§ 37:2-31 to 37:2-41, New Jersey courts often hold them to a higher standard of increased scrutiny. Cases have shown that there is more room for coercive tactics in postnups, including one spouse’s threatening the other with divorce to have their mid-marriage agreement signed. There is case law in which postnups were tossed out because of coercion using threats of divorce. This is a very tricky line to walk and speaking with an attorney knowledgeable with these kinds of agreements is crucial. You don’t want to spend the time or money to do one of these Agreements, only to find out it is unenforceable later.
In Steele v. Steele, a recent case that went before the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division, the court held that mid-marriage agreements must be “closely scrutinized and carefully evaluated.” To be enforceable, they must be fair and reasonable to both parties at the time they are executed and when they are enforced. This basically means that one party cannot be overly disadvantaged by the agreement to the benefit of the other party. The agreement must be equitable to both parties.
Additionally, to be enforceable, postnuptial agreements . . .
- Cannot be obtained by coercion or duress. If there is any evidence that one party was forced or manipulated into signing the agreement, it will not be enforced.
- Must truthfully disclose assets, debts, and the financial situations of both spouses. If any of these items are not truthfully disclosed or there is a mistake in disclosure, even an innocent one, the entire postnup may be tossed out.
- Must allow each party time to think about and reach an informed decision about signing the document. If a party is pressured into signing quickly without being given ample time to consider whether they wish to sign, it could be considered coercion.
Very importantly, each party in a postnuptial agreement must have their own independent counsel. If this isn’t the case, the party without counsel must have waived their right to an attorney in writing, and this information must be included within the postnuptial agreement. Without both parties’ having separate attorneys or a written waiver, the postnuptial agreement probably will not be enforced. The party without legal counsel may claim they were strong-armed into signing or weren’t given enough time to have their own attorney look at it.
Our Law Firm Drafts Postnuptial Agreements
As you can see, postnuptial agreements are complicated and require careful consideration and drafting. If they are executed incorrectly or done under the wrong set of circumstances, they will be unenforceable. Besides the major points made above, it should go without saying that a postnuptial agreement must be in writing. And like other contracts in New Jersey, it must be signed voluntarily, in front of witnesses, and most times, a notary.
To learn about the protections a postnuptial agreement may offer you based on your situation, contact Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC at (201) 880-9770. And if you are facing divorce, reach out to us for assistance. Our firm handles all areas of family law, including divorce and related issues regarding property division, alimony, child custody and child support. Work with our experienced team to ensure your rights are well protected.
What Type of Lawyer Handles Postnuptial Agreements?
We Practice Exclusively in Family Law
When you have questions about whether you need a postnuptial agreement or you want one drafted, seek the services of a family law attorney. Family law attorneys handle family-related legal issues. They understand New Jersey’s complex laws concerning divorce, high-net-worth divorce, property division, and children’s concerns. They also know what makes marital agreements, including prenups and postnuptial agreements, enforceable.
Experienced family lawyers will also be familiar with the New Jersey Family Court system and its judges. When looking for an attorney, be sure to ask questions about their knowledge of previous decisions regarding postnuptial agreements and their understanding of what makes these agreements enforceable or what can make them unenforceable.
Our family law attorneys at Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC in Bergen County have extensive background drafting postnuptial agreements for every unique situation. Contact our Hackensack law office to learn how we can help you by calling (201) 880-9770.
How Do I Talk to My Spouse About Signing a Postnuptial Agreement?
There’s no doubt that postnuptial agreements are sensitive areas that can be difficult to talk about. Be calm and non-antagonistic when approaching the conversation. Give your spouse plenty of time without feeling pressured to consider your request. A postnup may involve many back-and-forth negotiations to consider and balance the interests of both of you, your independent attorneys can assist with these negotiations. Also think about where you relationship is at now. Think about where it was. Think about and talk to your spouse as to whether they are on the same page as well.
If relationships between spouses are contentious, a postnuptial agreement may be impossible to talk about, let alone get one signed. Mediation may be one way to progress in this situation, if both parties will agree to it, or that is your sign in and of itself that divorce may unfortunately be inevitable.
Get Help from a Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer in Hackensack
Call our experienced New Jersey men’s rights lawyers in Hackensack. We’ll advise you about creating a mid-marriage agreement that will protect your interests in divorce. Our skilled attorneys have decades of experience assisting clients in all family law areas. Men’s & Fathers’ Rights Divorce Lawyers by Schultz & Associates, LLC will be your staunch legal advocate in safeguarding your financial future in the event of divorce.
Call us today at 201-880-9770 for help drafting your postnuptial agreement or should you be facing a challenge to it. We can also assist you if you need to have a previously drafted agreement reviewed or wish to challenge a previously drafted postnup.