Five Key Elements of a New Jersey Prenup
Most people are at least somewhat familiar with the concept of a prenuptial agreement. With that said, most individuals are not versed in some of the basic elements associated with this type of legal agreement. There are five key elements associated with a New Jersey prenup that are crucial to the ultimate effectiveness and enforceability of this type of agreement:
- Full disclosure of assets and liabilities
- Legal capacity to contract
- Voluntary agreement
- Fair and equitable agreement
- Independent representation
Before diving deeper into the five key elements associated with a prenuptial agreement in New Jersey, an overview of the basics of this type of contract is helpful. A prenuptial agreement is defined as a contract between parties planning to marry that addresses the respective ownership of assets should the marriage ultimately fail and the couple divorces.
Ideally, a prenup should not be signed directly on the eve of the wedding ceremony. A couple is wide to take care of this piece of business somewhere in the neighborhood of at least a two or three months before the wedding is to take place or even at a juncture in time before a date for the nuptials has been scheduled by the couple.Full Disclosure of Assets and Liabilities
In order for a New Jersey prenup to be effective and binding on the parties, there must be a full disclosure of assets and liabilities in advance of entering into the contract. Full disclosure must be made by both parties to the prenuptial agreement. The reality is that if one party fails to make a full disclosure to the other, the party that enters into a prenup without such information has legal grounds to set aside the agreement at a later date.Legal Capacity to Contract
One of the most basic facts about a prenuptial agreement is that it is a legally binding contract. New Jersey law makes clear that a person can only enter into a contract if he or she has legal capacity to do so. If a person is mentally incapable of entering into a contract and signs a prenup anyway, the prenuptial agreement can be set aside because that individual lacked legal capacity.Voluntary Agreement
A New Jersey prenup must be voluntarily entered into by both parties to a couple contemplating marriage. Unfortunately, there are instances in which one party coerces or threatens the other to enter into a prenuptial agreement. A prenup in New Jersey will only be considered valid and binding if both parties entered into the agreement voluntarily.Fair and Equitable Agreement
A New Jersey prenuptial agreement will only be deemed effective is it results in what legally is considered to be a fair and equitable division of property between the parties. Typically a prenuptial agreement is crafted because there exists a disparity in the wealth between parties to a couple planning to marry. The prenup is desired to protect the person who brings a more significant amount of assets into a relationship and ultimately a marriage.
Understanding that prenups oftentimes are designed to protect a wealthier party, an agreement cannot be so lopsided that it is unfair and inequitable. In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid and legally binding, it must be fair and equitable.Independent Representation
If you are planning to marry and intend on entering into a prenuptial agreement, you are wise to retain an experienced lawyer to draft the contract. With that said, independent representation is needed when a couple wants to enter into a prenup. In other words, if an attorney drafts the agreement for one party the other needs to obtain independent legal counsel to review it.
If you and your significant other desire to enter into a prenuptial agreement, a New Jersey prenup lawyer from the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at your convenience by calling us at (201) 845-7400 can assist. As was referenced a moment ago, bear in mind that each party to a prenup entered into in New Jersey should have his or her own legal counsel. We can schedule a free initial consultation with you at a time that is convenient for you.