More and more New Jersey couples first establish their careers before they consider marriage. In fact, by the time some couples take that step, they might each have accumulated substantial assets that could even include a residence or other real estate. For that reason, prenuptial agreements have become more common, but some still find it an uncomfortable conversation to have — maybe because it seems like planning for a divorce even before they are married.

However, although a prenuptial agreement will protect the assets of both parties in a divorce, it will do the same in the event of one spouse’s death. There are things to keep in mind about the legalities in establishing such an agreement, one of which is not to postpone signing it. For a prenup to hold up in court if it is ever challenged, the court will first look at the date at which it was signed. If this was on the eve of the wedding, coercion, duress or enforcement might be suspected.

Although it may make financial sense to use only one attorney, the court will expect each spouse to have his or own legal counsel for this purpose. One party’s attorney can draft the document while the other party — with the guidance of his or her lawyer — can consider what is proposed in the contract and suggest modifications where necessary. There must be no indication that one person was bullied into signing the prenup, and it must be clear that both parties understood the contents when they signed it.

New Jersey couples may not realize that prenuptial agreements can also serve other purposes than protecting assets in the event of a divorce. Couples can use it to set ground rules for their marriage such as how they will handle disputes, what will happen if one has an extra-marital affair or becomes addicted to gambling, alcohol or drugs. Some couples even use a prenup to specify how they will divide household chores like taking out the garbage.

Source: brides.com, “He Asked You to Sign a Pre-Nup… Now What?“, Jillian Kramer, Accessed on Nov. 3, 2017