New Jersey Prenup Info & Divorce Statutes
Prenuptial Agreements in New Jersey
What to include in a valid New Jersey Prenup
For a Jersey prenup (also referred to as “premarital or pre-civil union agreement”) to be considered valid and enforceable in the eyes of the law, it must be drafted under specific laws and regulations that include:
- A written contract
- Lawful terms
- Signatures from both parties (ideally on every page)
- Signed voluntarily (without being under duress, intimidation, deceit, etc.)
- Financial disclosure
What to exclude from your New Jersey prenup
Your prenup could be a risk if you include any of the following provisions:
- Child custody or child support
- Incentive to commit illegal acts
- Incentive for divorce
- Unfair, unjust, or deceptive terms
Avoiding these subjects means avoiding unnecessary ambiguity that could be interpreted from your marriage or prenuptial agreement altogether, and efficiently streamline your divorce process.
A New Jersey Prenuptial Agreement can include the following (including, but not limited to!):
- Separate Property: Specifying what property should be considered separate property;
- Marital Property: Specifying what property should be considered marital property;
- How marital property will be distributed at divorce or death
- The modification or elimination of New Jersey spousal support;
- The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement;
- Any other provisions, such as personal obligations, as long as those provisions do not violate public policy.
Statutes & terms to understand for a valid New Jersey Prenup
*Before we go into terminology, we highly suggest reviewing our “Prenup Encyclopedia” that breaks down legal terminology and phrases that will make drafting your prenup much easier.
Official term used to refer to “divorce from bond of matrimony”.
A legal breakup of a marriage in New Jersey is called a “divorce from bond of matrimony.” Legally speaking, couples can break up their marriage as a divorce, legal separation, or annulment.
New Jersey Divorce Grounds
New Jersey recognizes both “fault” and “no fault” grounds for divorce.
Property “acquired during the marriage”
In New Jersey, marital property includes all property, both real and personal, acquired by either spouse during the marriage.
New Jersey operates under an equitable distribution theory. This means that property is not automatically split down the middle. Rather, the courts employ an equitable distribution analysis and use the following factors to help determine an asset split:
- Length of the marriage;
- Age and physical health of each spouse
- Emotional health of each spouse;
- Income of each spouse;
- Debts and liabilities of the parties;
- The spouse’s standard of living;
- Economic circumstances of each spouse;
- Each spouse’s financial and non-financial contribution to the marital property;
- Earning capacity of each party;
- Whether or not there was a prenuptial agreement; and
Any other factors the court deems relevant.
AKA “separate property”
New Jersey operates like many other equitable distribution states, where a list of factors (see above) allow a court to determine what property is considered marital, and what property is considered separate, depending on a variety of factors. If you want to ensure that your separate property remains separate, a prenuptial agreement is the best way to do so.
Spousal Support Upon Divorce
New Jersey courts consider a variety of factors detailed in the New Jersey alimony statute (NJSA 34 N.J.S.2A:34-23). The listed factors are:
- The actual need and ability of the parties to pay;
- The duration of the marriage or civil union;
- The age, physical and emotional health of the parties;
- The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living, with neither party having a greater entitlement to that standard of living than the other;
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties;
- The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance;
- The parental responsibilities for the children;
- The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
- The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities;
- The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair;
- The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party;
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment; and
- The nature, amount, and length of pendente lite support paid, if any; and
- Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.
If you would like to decide whether or not alimony should be of issue in any divorce, a prenuptial agreement can allow you to decide!
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