A postnuptial agreement, according to New Jersey law, is a contractual agreement, like a prenuptial agreement, that two people enter into.
A prenuptial is entered into before two people are married and a postnuptial agreement is entered into after two people are married. A postnuptial agreement outlines spouses’ ownership of financial assets if they were to divorce. In addition, the agreement can outline the responsibilities pertaining to any children or other obligations for the duration of their marriage.
Is a Postnuptial Agreement Right for you?
1. Have your financial circumstances changed, or are they likely to change? A postnuptial agreement may be used to safeguard your financial interest in the event you are divorced. For instance, if you go through a change of employment, and your income increases, you may be interested in executing a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement may also interest you in you inherit a large sum of money. In doing so your postnuptial agreement will define who is entitled to the inheritance and/or the amount they are entitled to.
2. Are you intending to change the terms of your prenuptial agreement? If you and your spouses entered into a prenuptial agreement, this does not mean that you cannot later enter into a postnuptial agreement as circumstances change overtime. You may enter into a post nuptial agreement to change the original terms of your prenuptial agreement. The document that was signed later in time will overrule the previous agreement.
3. Do you have children that you intend to provide for from a prior marriage? As you may know, upon a divorce, the court may order you or your spouse to pay child support for the children belonging to the marriage. Yet, what if you brought a child, or children, into the marriage from a previous relationship or marriage? Well, a postnuptial agreement may provide for this. A postnuptial agreement may dictate that these children are adequately provided for in the event you and your spouse are divorced.
4. Do you want to define how your assets will be distributed upon divorce? Normally, when parties divorce in New Jersey, the assets acquired during the course of the marriage will be equally divided through New Jersey’s equitable distribution law. Yet, if you have a postnuptial agreement, you can specifically dictate how your marital property will be distributed upon divorce. Hence, you can avoid an equal distribution of marital assets.
5. It is important that you hire an attorney for assistance during this process. While postnuptial agreements have been held to be enforceable under New Jersey law, provided that they are fair and equitable, it is critical to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney prior to entering into one. New Jersey law provides that very specific requirements must be met for a prenuptial agreement to be considered valid, and even in such circumstances, if the postnuptial agreement is grossly inequitable, it may ultimately be thrown out if it is challenged upon a divorce. Moreover, in some cases, there may be ways of avoiding the necessity of a postnuptial agreement, depending on the type of assets a spouse is attempting to protect.
If you are interested in learning more about postnuptial agreements, contact New Jersey divorce attorney Steven M. Cytryn, at the Law Office of Steven M. Cytryn, LLC to assist you. We are centrally located at 142 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 and can be reached at (732) 214-1103. Proudly Serving Central New Jersey, including Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset, Union and Mercer Counties.