Contesting a Marital Agreement in Northern New Jersey

Experienced Family Lawyers Providing Guidance on Contesting Marital Agreements in Wyckoff, Caldwell, Montvale, and North New Jersey.

Contesting a Marital Agreement Lawyers in West Milford, NJMarital agreements define the rights and responsibilities of the people in a marriage. A pre-nuptial agreement is drafted before the wedding, while a post-nuptial agreement is done after the marriage. There are also mid-marriage agreements, which may be entered into when the couple has separated but is not yet divorced.

Prenuptial agreements, also known as prenups, are made by a couple who will be married shortly. The courts consider this agreement legally binding. Most people consider prenups to be agreements to protect the parties’ financial assets. Still, they can also stipulate, in case of a divorce, alimony, and how assets of either party should be distributed in case of one person’s passing.

If you wish to discuss the disagreements in any of the forms of a marital agreement with a family attorney from Montanari Law Group, feel free to dial (973) 233-4396 or complete an online inquiry form. Our legal professionals are available to help you prepare for mediation and settlement proceedings in your case in Jersey City, Clifton, Verona, Little Falls, Passaic County, and across Northern New Jersey.

Different Types of Marital Agreements Before, During, and after the Wedding in NJ

Many people have a false perception of prenups. They think prenups are only for the well-to-do or those with many assets. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A prenup can establish for certain how the assets will be handled if the couple divorces, whether they are many or few.

To have a rock-solid prenup, besides having your attorney draft it for you, both must sign and notarize it. The couple shouldn’t use the same attorney; each person should have their own to protect their rights best. The prenup must disclose all assets, and the decision to sign the agreement must be voluntary, without threats, coercion, cozenage, or distress. Both parties should have ample time to review and consider the document before the marriage.

A postnuptial agreement is signed after the marriage ceremony. It can take place directly after or several years later. Frequently, they are used when a couple wants to change their prenup in part or its entirety. The addition of assets during the marriage that are not listed in the prenup, a change in alimony, or what should happen in the event of a spouse’s death can be in the agreement.

A mid-marriage agreement is written when the couple has separated. Sometimes, it is created when divorce papers have already been filed, or they want to reconcile. The courts are not as willing to accept this kind of agreement because of the long-term relationship dynamics where pressure could be placed on the spouse, who may be reluctant to sign.

Possible Scenarios to Contest a NJ Marital Agreement

A marital agreement cannot set up child support or child custody in New Jersey. Those must be decided during the divorce proceedings because precise topics that a written agreement cannot trump must be resolved. If the agreement is deemed unfair or gives all of the benefits to one partner, leaving the other with next to nothing, the agreement can be contested. If one spouse or both did not fully disclose the assets or if either or both parties had no access to legal counsel, the agreement could be challenged. Also, if the agreement was signed under duress, as is more often found by the courts in agreements made after the couple is married, it can be contested.

Judicial Decision on a Previous Marital Agreement Dispute

Jeanne and Richard Stein had a marital agreement that stated that upon their separation, Jeanne would receive $100,000 of Richard’s pension fund. When Richard attempted the transfer by qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), it was unsuccessful because of a paperwork issue. Richard had assured all parties involved that the situation had been remedied, but Jeanne never received the funds.

Additionally, the marital agreement stipulated that any disputes must first be addressed through mediation, and no motions could be filed before that took place. Also, the agreement indicated that the losing party in any legal challenge of the agreement would be obligated to pay the legal expenses of the other.

Richard claimed that his retirement fund was a premarital asset and could not be given to Jeanne even though it was in their marital agreement. They went to mediation but were unsuccessful, so Jeanne motioned for the $100,000 payment. Richard filed a motion to annul the mandated payment and wanted a hearing to include a reduction in alimony and child support payments.

On October 6, 2017, the court decided that the marital agreement was indeed fair and reasonable, was signed by both parties voluntarily, and there was insufficient evidence to set it aside. Jeanne’s motion for the $100,000 with interest was to be transferred to her. She was also to have her attorney’s fees paid by Richard. Richard then filed a motion to reconsider, which was denied.

Richard submitted his appeal, claiming that the judge had mistakenly denied his motion to reconsider because evidence was overlooked. He also complained that the judge had no legal basis to award Jeanne her legal costs, as he had not breached the terms of the agreement.

Seek Advice Regarding How to Contest a Marital Agreement in Northern NJThe appellate court began by saying that Richard’s motion for reconsideration was rightfully denied. Reconsideration should not be requested simply because the losing party objects to the court’s decision. It should contain a statement detailing where and how the mistake was made. The court also offered that the marital agreement appeared to have been created voluntarily, and both parties participated in its writing. As to the almost $9,000 in attorney fees, the court supported the marital agreement provision, citing a consideration of equitable distribution of the parties.

The Role of Mid-Marriage Agreement in a NJ Divorce Process

A mid-marriage agreement is another kind of marital agreement that can be entered into before or shortly after filing for divorce. A contested divorce is expensive and takes more time than an uncontested one. Couples can agree and file an uncontested divorce, and they will have more control over the decision-making rather than a judge making their decisions for them.

Talk to an Experienced Attorney for Help Contesting Your Marital Agreement in New Jersey

Our seasoned attorneys at the Montanari Law Group have years of experience constructing rock-solid marital agreements. We have also had several cases requiring that an agreement be contested or defended. We look for creative solutions to provide you with the best answer to your case, with an understanding of its uniqueness. We know the law and can create an agreement that covers all of the bases you need while preventing ambiguity or contradictions. The best marital agreement is one that is fair, protects your assets, and is written in a manner that is bulletproof.

If you are seeking to contest a marital agreement in Hawthorne, Wayne, Ridgewood, Nutley, Millburn, Hackensack, Haledon, and surrounding areas, call us at (973) 233-4396 or contact us online to organize a consultation and begin discussing how we can best serve you.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.