The US has seen a significant drop-off in the marriage rate in recent years. Part of the reason for this is that there is less financial advantage to getting married for women. 2019 was the first year on record where women made up the majority of the U.S. work force. With male and female partners entering into a relationship on more equal economic footing, there is less impetus to take the marital plunge. When a couple does decide to tie the knot, it is a growing trend to sign a prenuptial agreement
before walking down the aisle.
A prenuptial agreement for those intending to get married, or a cohabitation agreement for those who want to live with their significant other, can give you the security you need to intertwine yourself financially with another person. Sure, you love them now, but people and circumstances change
. If the marriage doesn’t work, particularly if you are the one with a higher income, you can save a lot of time, money, and heartache if there is a prenup in place. Signing a prenup is not a negative mark against your relationship or a dismissal of your genuine feelings for your significant other. It is a smart financial move and could even better allow you to exit the relationship amicably in the future.
A prenuptial agreement isn’t just for those who are well-off financially. People from all kinds of financial backgrounds are using prenuptial agreements to protect themselves and their assets before entering into a marriage. You might want a prenup if you intend on passing separate property to children from a previous relationship. A prenuptial agreement or a cohabitation agreement can be a great way to clarify financial rights within the relationship so you both know what kind of financial responsibilities to expect. If you want to make sure your spouse is protected from becoming liable for your debts, or vice versa, a prenuptial agreement can cover that. Essentially, a prenup will help you avoid arguments and bitter feelings should the relationship not work out. It can also prevent some of the bigger causes of divorce—like financial disagreements—by ensuring everyone is on the same page.
In New Jersey, prenuptial agreements must contain several components and cover a few different outcomes to be recognized by NJ courts. NJ prenups and cohabitation agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital and Pre-Civil Union Agreement Act, which requires that specific issues be covered in order for the agreement to be enforceable. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to ensure you are covering all of your bases, but a few big things to come to an agreement on are:
- Financial rights and obligations concerning property and debts, establishing who pays for what
- What assets will be considered co-owned and what assets will remain individual property
- Whether or not spousal support will be included in a divorce settlement
- What happens to debts, inheritance, or assets gained after the signing of the prenup
- How property will be titled and who can stay at what property in the event of divorce
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, talk to your significant other. Work together to determine whether or not a prenuptial agreement is right for you and your relationship. Talking to an experienced attorney can help you work through all the little details. Veitengruber Law
offers personalized legal strategies to help protect you and your loved ones' financial futures.