Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Divorce: How valid is your prenuptial agreement?

Many New Jersey couples sign prenuptial agreements to ensure the interests of both spouses will be protected if the marriage should end. The typical purpose is to specify the division of property in the event of a divorce in a manner that differs from the process prescribed by state laws. However, for such an agreement to be valid, specific legal requirements must be met.

One of the requirements might be for both spouses to be represented by their respective independent legal counsels. Agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties, and not on the eve of the marriage. The court would want to see that both parties had sufficient time to consider the contents of the contract before signing it. Furthermore, any sign of coercion or pressuring one spouse into signing might lead to the agreement being declared invalid by the court.

Both parties must commit to full and honest disclosure of assets, income and liabilities when drafting the prenuptial agreement. If the court suspects differently, it could find that complete disclosure might have prevented one party from signing. To avoid a marriage agreement being voided by the court, it must not be unconscionable. This means that it must show no signs of leading to a post-divorce situation in which one party will thrive while the other suffers financial hardship.

Individuals in New Jersey who consider signing prenuptial agreements typically choose to seek the support and advice of an experienced divorce attorney. This may be the best way to ensure that the contract will be valid and that one's interests are protected. Furthermore, an agreement drafted and signed with such professional guidance may guarantee it will hold up in court if it is ever challenged.

Source:, "7 Reasons Why a Premarital Agreement May be Invalid," accessed on Jan.18, 2018

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