People from different walks of life fall in love and get married. When there’s a wide wealth gap, one spouse often asks the betrothed to sign a prenuptial agreement, so the spouse protects assets. However, a prenuptial agreement should provide a fair and equitable amount of the estate to the lower net worth spouse.
A prenuptial agreement defines the division of assets and property in the event of a divorce or death. Under New Jersey law, spouses can include a suitable number of conditions and measures in a prenuptial agreement. Most importantly, both spouses must agree to the terms of the prenuptial agreement.
Factors to consider before signing a prenuptial agreement
When asking your partner to sign a prenuptial agreement, you should consider the following:
- Timing: If there is a wide disparity of wealth between the spouses, a prenuptial agreement may be appropriate, but it needs to be discussed long before the wedding.
- Fair and equitable: One spouse may earn dramatically more than the other. However, that does not mean the lower-earning spouse deserves little or nothing if the marriage should end. The wealthier spouse should share some assets or property in the event of a divorce.
- Alimony: When you’re entering holy matrimony, alimony probably is not at the top of your list. You can include or leave out terms of alimony in the prenuptial agreement. If a spouse declines alimony in the agreement, the law considers the matter settled and a spouse cannot litigate it in a divorce proceeding.
- Event of death: These agreements allow spouses to leave property and assets to relatives, friends, organizations and the surviving spouse.
- Attorney review: Since a prenuptial agreement is a binding contract, you should have you own attorney review and consider all of its terms and conditions. If one or both spouses did not have an attorney review the agreement, then a court may find it invalid.
Future spouses with considerable wealth and assets should arrive at a suitable prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle. A spouse may have many legitimate reasons for requesting a prenuptial agreement. However, you should feel compelled to fairly and adequately support your future mate.