New Jersey has a set of statutes on the specific requirements of NJ prenuptial and pre-civil union agreements and enforcement of them, referred to as the Uniform Pre-Marital and Pre-Civil Union Act. The details begin at N.J.S.A. 37.2-31 and continuing thereafter.
The Purpose: Protection
Prenuptial and pre-civil union agreements set the rights and obligations of each party to the partnership, and each other, with regard to both existing and future property ownership, financial obligations and the overall financial relationship between the parties. These Agreements create a relationship that can waive existing rights and add additional rights. For example, the rights of a spouse to a portion of the estate of their deceased spouse can be waived in these Agreements with other arrangements being made instead. This is often important when there are multiple marriages and children to be protected from prior relationships.
What Will Make A NJ Prenuptial Agreement Fail
In consideration of having a prenuptial agreement drafted, it is beneficial to know what action or inaction can make it fail. The Act itself includes not just the requirements, but what it takes to set aside or have the Agreement declared unenforceable, their case will be based on any or all of the following failures:
- The agreement is not in writing, voluntarily signed by both parties with a statement of each party’s property, financial obligations and earnings attached
- Before the agreement was signed, all assets, financial obligations and earnings of the other party were not disclosed, and the party did not waive that full disclosure in writing or
- The party signing did not consult with an attorney about the agreement and did not waive the right to do so in writing or
- At the time of enforcement of the agreement, not at its inception, the agreement was unconscionable, meaning, pursuant to the act:
- The spouse or partner will be without any means for reasonable self-support
- The spouse or partner is likely to become a public charge, or
- The spouse or partner will have a standard of living far below what they enjoyed prior to the marriage or civil union
Never give the opportunity for someone to claim that they were pressured or forced into any Agreement, by you or anyone else. Give ample time for review of the Agreement by the other party and as their attorney to avoid claims of duress or involuntary execution based on being pressured to sign or, even worse, threats made if they do not sign.
It is these details that will determine whether your Agreement will stand avoiding all reasonable risks for it to be set aside.
When does the NJ Prenuptial Agreement Take Effect
The Agreement becomes effective upon marriage or entry into a civil union. Until then, it cannot be enforced and, thus, has now power. If the marriage or civil union do not take place, the Agreement will never have meaning or significance
If you need to discuss drafting or enforcing a NJ prenuptial agreement or civil union agreement, please call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen for a free initial consultation at 201-845-7400.