Many New Jersey couples are entering into marriages with their own assets. If you are part of one of those couples, you might want to consider executing a prenuptial agreement that settles property distribution issues that could arise in a divorce. Even though you likely do not want to contemplate the possibility of your marriage ending before it even begins, it never hurts to be prepared.

In order for a prenuptial agreement to survive the scrutiny of the courts if it is needed, it must adhere to certain principles. Both of you must agree to enter into the agreement voluntarily free from coercion or duress. You and your future spouse are each required to fully disclose all income, assets and liabilities to the other unless one of you waives the right to such disclosure, but it would not be advisable to waive this right. Failure to provide this information could invalidate the agreement.

Each of you also has the right to consult with an attorney unless you expressly waived this right. However, waiving this right would also be inadvisable. Each of you needs to have a full and complete understanding of what you are signing since a prenuptial agreement identifies assets and liabilities that will be considered separate property and outlines how marital property would be divided in a divorce.

To minimize the chances that your prenuptial agreement would be ruled unenforceable in a New Jersey divorce, you and your fiance need to take advantage of all of the requirements. Start the process well in advance of your wedding, consult with an attorney and be as honest and forthcoming with your information as possible. If your marriage ends, your prenup could prevent a contentious property distribution process that could end up costing you more time, money and heartache.