Understanding the Options for Relationship Agreements in New Jersey
Family Law Attorneys explore the most common types of relationship agreements in Paterson, Jersey City, Hackensack, Newark and neighboring towns in NJ
When a couple decides to come together in a loving and committed relationship, the last thing they would want to consider is protecting their own assets in the case of the relationship’s collapse. Indeed, planning for the potential separation and its legal implications put a damper on the romance of the new union.
However, setting legal terms for the relationship is a wise choice. No longer are prenuptial agreements considered solely used by the ultra-rich and famous, who selfishly cling to their financial legacy and reveal a lack of trust in their ‘beloved.’ There are a multitude of reasons to enter into a marital or relationship agreement, including those that show that agreements such as prenuptial and post-nuptials can apply to a broader sect of the population than is popularly thought.
If you live in or near North Bergen, Union City, Hoboken, Clifton, Wayne, Hawthorne, and towns around Hudson or Passaic County, the attorneys at The Montanari Law Group, LLC have years of experience handling all sorts of relationship agreements for clients who want to plan for the future in all ways. We will work together to ensure that you are making a well-informed decision at the moment of your signature and have assistance choosing the right relationship agreement that best serves your goals.
Choosing the Right Relationship Agreement for You
If you plan to get married – a prenup
We’ve all heard of a ‘prenup’ – it’s the official legal document of the rich and famous married couple. In truth, a prenuptial agreement is a practical agreement that creates a structure for the legal framework of the marriage. A prenuptial agreement does engage the upcoming marriage much like a business agreement, and in reality, it is. When partners bring assets or family into a marriage, it is essential to ensure that they will be protected in the case of a divorce. Children from a prior marriage, for example, deserve the right to have legal estate protections, while a partner who is going to give up work to raise the family has the right to know that their lack of financial contributions to the marriage will not implode in the case of divorce.
The terms of a prenup are straightforward and financially oriented. They outline such elements as to how certain assets and the estate would be divided in a divorce, what would happen with pets, and how spousal support payments would be approached.
For a prenuptial agreement to be legal, it must be signed by each party’s individual legal counsel. The submission of a prenuptial agreement without the guidance, witness, and signature of two independent counsels is an invalid document.
If you already got married – a postnup
A postnuptial agreement is also called a mid-marriage agreement. This is a legal document the couple forms during the course of their marriage to clarify elements of their asset distribution and responsibilities of the marriage. A postnuptial agreement is usually brought to the table when a couple has separated but has decided to reconcile. Issues that were key to the separation are resolved in a legal form as expectations moving forward. Other cases in which postnups become necessary include the exit of one partner from the workforce to raise a family. Though this person does not contribute financially to the partnership, they will want to ensure that they have a legal claim to assets and perhaps spousal support in the case of a divorce.
If you are unmarried but living together – a cohabitation or palimony agreement
A New Jersey couple doesn’t have to be married to be legally protected under the law in the case of a separation. The version of relationship agreements that applies to non-married couples is called a cohabitation agreement or a palimony agreement. This agreement, just like the others, outlines how assets and finances are split in the case of separation. It is sometimes considered that a cohabitation or palimony agreement is even more critical than a prenup because the legal protections for non-married individuals in a separation aren’t as extensive as those for married couples. Cohabitation agreements create a framework for the division of assets, properties, savings, joint investments, etc. In the case that there are children in the unmarried partnership, a palimony agreement lays out how custody of the children would play out at the time of separation. Just like a prenuptial and mid-marriage (postnuptial) agreement, individual counsel for both parties must sign the document for it to be considered valid by the New Jersey Family Courts.
Regardless of whether you are planning on marrying your partner, you are already married, or you are not planning on tying the legal knot but would like to set up a legal framework of protection in the case of separation, it is wise to contact a family law attorney to walk you through the process of setting up your appropriate relationship agreement.
Get the information you need from one of our experienced Family Law Attorneys in Little Falls.
When it comes to protecting your interests and your assets, having the support of a skilled family law attorney in the development of your relationship agreement is essential. Are you considering stepping into a relationship agreement with your partner in New Jersey? Make sure you have experienced counsel. At The Montanari Law Group, LLC, we understand the importance of maintaining legal control over your hard-earned assets, even as you enter into a loving union. We successfully represent clients in Newark, Kearny, Bayonne, Jersey City, Fort Lee, Passaic and towns around Essex and Bergen County in protecting their assets and sowing seeds for a harmonious partnership. Contact us at 973-233-4396 for a free consultation to discuss your needs and setting up the relationship agreement that is right for you.