A Pre-Marital Agreement, also known as a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, is an agreement made by a couple in contemplation of marriage. It becomes effective upon the parties’ marriage. It must be in writing and signed by both parties. It must also have a statement of assets and incomes annexed to it.
A Pre-Marital Agreement usually spells out the rights of each party to assets and may even address support.
Since Pre-Marital Agreements are enforceable, one should seek the advice of counsel before signing a Pre-Marital Agreement. Pre-Marital Agreements may be deemed to be unenforceable by a Court if certain criteria are proved. Since Pre-Marital Agreements significantly affect one’s finances, legal advice should be sought before signing one.
In New Jersey, The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act was enacted in 1988. Premarital Agreements entered into prior to that date are still enforceable, but not subject to the provisions of the Act. They must, however, satisfy certain criteria as set forth in the applicable case law.
Any Premarital Agreement signed after 1988 must comply with the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act to be enforceable. Therefore, it is imperative that anyone wishing to enter into a binding agreement seek legal counsel well versed in the provisions of the Act. It is also important that both parties are represented by an independent attorney of their choosing. Although, it may sound like this is an adversarial proceeding, skilled premarital attorneys make sure that it doesn’t become so. In these kind of cases, the attorneys are working with parties who are getting married and are in the happiest times of their lives.