Some couples in New Jersey choose not to sign prenuptial agreements because both parties have limited assets at the start of their marriage. However, once one or both spouses acquire assets during the marriage, they might need a way to secure the ownership of their respective holdings if their marriage should end in divorce. The solution comes in the form of a postnuptial agreement that will protect each spouse’s interests during the division of assets and property.
The difference between a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement is that the one is signed before the marriage and the other is a contract established after the wedding date. Although state laws may vary, legal requirements for valid postnups include the rule that the agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. The court will require it to be fair to both spouses and a voluntary agreement by both. Furthermore, all the relevant information must have been fully disclosed by both parties at the time of establishing the contract.
A postnuptial agreement is not only a useful tool to prevent contention in the event of a divorce, but it could also stipulate what should happen to the marital property if one spouse dies. The postnup can be used as an advance agreement with relation to the division of assets, alimony and other matters that could waste time and money during divorce proceedings. However, limitations to what is allowed in such a contract include child-related issues like custody and support, which are matters for the court to handle.
Any New Jersey spouse who has questions about a postnuptial agreement and its value as a tool to the fair division of assets and property in a marriage without a prenup might find the answers by consulting with legal counsel. An experienced family law attorney can assess the unique circumstances of the client and explain the options along with their respective pros and cons. This will allow the client to make informed decisions about protecting his or her assets in the event of a divorce.