Don’t Be Blindsided by Divorce: Ensure Fair Alimony with a NJ Prenup

When Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement, It Is Essential to Include Alimony Provisions to Protect Assets and Ensure Financial Support After Divorce in New Jersey

Don't Be Blindsided by Divorce: Ensure Fair Alimony with a NJ PrenupThe ring fits like a glove, and the wedding preparations are underway.  But while going to cake tastings and renting the tuxedos, consider the importance of a prenuptial agreement. Not only can it protect the assets of each soon-to-be spouse, but it can include a plan for alimony.   In New Jersey, spousal support, maintenance, and alimony refer to a sum paid by one spouse to the other during and after the divorce. Its purpose is to provide financial support until the recipient can support themselves financially. Alimony affords the spouse the opportunity to maintain a lifestyle similar to that experienced during the marriage.   However, it is rarely permanent, and its duration is frequently directly related to the length of the marriage. If the spouses have comparable job opportunities and similar incomes, sometimes alimony isn’t a factor because its purpose is to give a financial leg up when one spouse’s income and earning potential is lower than the other.

What Prenuptial Agreements Can Address

The common misconception is that prenuptial agreements are only necessary for the wealthiest couples.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  A prenuptial agreement is a contract between a couple entering into marriage detailing how the assets will be divided in the event of a divorce.  In general, each side wants to protect their assets going into the marriage and determine how the marital assets will be divided in the case of a divorce.  For example, if the couple started a business together, the agreement may dictate how it will be managed or divided.

It is important to note that child custody cannot be decided in a prenuptial agreement.  Those decisions must be hashed out during the divorce process.  If an agreement cannot be reached, a judge in family court will create a custody plan.

Essentials of Enforceable Prenuptial Agreements in NJ

A prenuptial agreement must be in writing, notarized, and signed before the wedding. An essential component of a prenuptial agreement is full disclosure of assets and debts (liabilities).  The agreement can be set aside later if one party fails to include assets or liabilities.  Next, New Jersey law requires that both parties have the legal capacity to enter into the contract.  That means the participants are cognitively aware of the agreement and can understand it.  New Jersey law requires the prenuptial agreement to be entered voluntarily, without threats or coercion.  Approaching the negotiation process with fairness, allowing both spouses to offer preferences and worries, and being receptive to compromise is part of the process.

The agreement must also be fair and equitable.  The contract’s purpose is frequently to protect the person who brings more assets into the relationship. Still, the agreement cannot be so unevenly balanced that it is unfair to either party.  Both people must affirm that they have read and agree to the contract.  Lastly, independent representation is required.  Each party must have its legal representative when drafting and reviewing the agreement.

Alimony Considerations in Prenuptial Agreements

An alimony agreement can be included in the contract. If one person earns less than the other, a minimum amount can be set for the alimony they would receive to provide support. Additionally, a couple can decide that alimony would only be paid after a certain marriage period or that payments would be made in exchange for a larger share of the assets.

Benefits of Including Alimony in a NJ Prenup

Including alimony in a prenuptial agreement can resolve problems and arguments related to whether alimony will be paid, by whom, and what the payments will be.  This can avoid lengthy divorce proceedings and higher legal bills.  It can also serve as a guarantee that the division of assets and alimony payments will be handled in as equitable a manner as possible.

How Prenuptial Agreements Ensure Financial Security for Your Future

By having a prenuptial agreement, an individual can avoid the loss of assets due to equitable distribution while establishing a fair amount of alimony to provide financial equality.  Giving up alimony doesn’t mean no one will receive any support. If one party opts out of alimony but wants a lump sum payment, it can be a plus for both sides. Also, the assets and liabilities can be divided so that alimony isn’t necessarily needed.

Don’t Let Your Prenup Become Outdated

The Key to Fair Alimony Outcomes Through Prenuptial Agreement in NJPrenuptial agreements should be viewed and updated when the family’s circumstances have changed. Some circumstances can permit changes in the terms of a prenuptial agreement. For example, modifications could be necessary if the spouses start a business jointly. Having children during the marriage is also a cause for changes in the agreement. If a spouse inherits a large sum of money or stops working during the marriage, the circumstances warrant a change, as well. Another reason could be if one spouse begins to earn substantially more than the other.

Contact Our Little Falls Office to Explore Your Options for Including Alimony in a Prenuptial Agreement

Often, couples choose not to have a prenuptial agreement because they feel they are saying the marriage won’t last or they don’t trust their partner.  Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth.  A prenuptial agreement provides security and transparency by establishing a road map if and when divorce becomes a reality.  It prevents unnecessary squabbling over alimony and the division of assets, saving everyone time, stress, and money.

Our family law attorneys at The Montanari Law Group can help you manage the ins and outs of getting a prenup and including any relevant alimony provisions specific to your case.  We are excellent negotiators with the experience you need to create a solid prenup to protect you and your financial interests in Hackensack, Wyckoff, Wayne, Kearny, Passaic, Jersey City, Hoboken, Short Hills, Montvale, Franklin Lakes, Millburn, and throughout Northern New Jersey.  You and your spouse deserve a secure beginning.  Whether you need us to negotiate, draft, or review your prenuptial agreement, our priority is creating a fair agreement that will provide you and your spouse with peace of mind.

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement or you are seeking assistance with covering alimony in your prenup, call us today at (973) 233-4396 or reach out to our legal team online to schedule a free consultation.


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