An opinion about Prenuptial Agreement from an experienced family attorney
Prenuptial Agreement, do you need one? Many of my clients would ask me that whether it is necessary to get one from an divorce attorney’s perspective. Before I state my personal opinions, I just want to share with you that based on a national survey, around 50% of marriage end up in divorce, which means 1 out of 2 couples end up in divorce. As a divorce attorney, I have witnessed countless lengthy divorce filled with nasty fights over properties separation and alimony issues, etc that were disastrous to both parties lives. Personally, I will recommend prenuptial agreement – Just like we all have insurance for cars and houses, why shouldn’t we get an insurance for our marriage. You will definitely be better protected with an prenuptial agreement.
What if your fiancee/fiance does not want Prenuptial？
It is common that one party wants the prenup and the other party strongly oppose the idea. It is important to understand just like contract, prenup can be tailed in a way that protects both parties’ interest. I would recommend both parties talk to different attorneys prior to make their decisions. Experienced attorneys assist you in analyzing your situations and help you make a better-informed decision.
What can be inculded in Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreement can help you protect premarital assets or even your income during marriage. Here is a list of items that can be regulated by Prenuptial Agreement, not in violation of law:
- The ownership of pre-marital assets including but not limited to real properties, stocks, trust account, investment accounts, savings, vehicles and business etc.
- Assets values
- Amount and terms of Alimony in case of divorce
What can NOT be included in Prenuptial Agreement?
- Decision regarding child custody and child support.
In New Jersey, when it comes to child custody, the court will always make the decision based on the child’s best interest. Any clause regarding child custody or child support will not be enforceable in later divorce proceedings.
- Non-financail matters
Prenuptial agreements are designed to address financial issues. Judge often views prenuptial agreement regulating private matters frivolous, thus strikes them down as unenforceable. For example, we once had client who is a single mother going to get married soon. She wanted to included in the prenuptial agreement that the future husband has to spent at least 2 days a week with her daugher from last marriage. This kind of terms do not address financial issues, thus should not be included in the Pren-up.
- Provisions detail anything illegal
Although it may be obvious that prenup should not include anything that is illegal. I still want to emphasize it since illegal terms may render the whole agreement invalid, thus unenforceable.
Who should definitely get a Prenuptial Agreement？
We strongly recommend you to obtain a Prenuptial Agreement if following senarios applies to you.
- You have significantly more assets than your future spouse
- You are going to earn significantly more than your future spouse
- You anticipate to receive a significant amount of inheritance or gift.
- You are beneficary of a trust/ trusts.
- You have significant debts/ You are marrying someone with significant debts
- You own a business
- There is child from prior marriages.
Marriage, as an important decision in life, can have a huge impact on your personal life as well as your financial and legal situation. It is important that you understand possible risks and all your options before you make any decisions.
Park & Caporrino has a strong record of obtaining favorable result to our clients. We have over 25 years of experience in family law in New Jersey and New York, with a mission to protect what our clients value most. We sincerely hope that you find this article useful, if you have any questions or suggestion regarding our columns, please feel free to email our office at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us at (201) 242-9666.
Above article is for general guidance only.
Park & Caporrino, LLP
Attorneys at Law.
Licensed in New York and New Jersey