Do I need a prenuptial agreement?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

The conversation around prenuptial agreements is changing, thanks in part to the younger generation. What used to be a sometimes-hurtful subject and one people would avoid talking about is becoming more commonplace in conversation.

Also known as a prenup, a prenuptial agreement is a legal document to outline how an engaged couple would split their assets in the event of a divorce.

Anymore, people are looking at prenups practically. Yes, you’re in a romantic relationship, but in a marriage, you’re also engaging in a legal and financial contract. A prenup can be a form of protection for both spouses.


Who needs one?

Younger people are waiting longer to get married and tend to look at a prenuptial agreement as a solid business decision, one that will clarify their financial assets and agreements before marriage – almost like an insurance policy. Anymore, both spouses work and contribute to a marriage, so they look at establishing a prenuptial agreement as a team effort, protecting them both.

A prenup isn’t just for those with high assets, it may also be for you if:

  • You have kids from a previous marriage.
  • You’re a property or business owner.
  • You have significant debt.
  • You have substantial retirement accounts.


In divorce in New Jersey, marital property is divided equitably, but not necessarily fairly. Anything considered marital property is part of the division decision (so anything acquired during the marriage), but anything acquired outside of the marriage or specifically mentioned in a prenuptial agreement is excluded.

Since 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, there are no guarantees your relationship will last. It makes sense to highlight and exclude things that might be important for you to hold on to in the case of a split.

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