Postnuptial agreements, like any marital agreement, are designed to allow married couples to define the individual financial rights and responsibilities of both partners in the event of a divorce or the death of one spouse. Contrary to popular opinion, marital agreements can often strengthen a marriage, as they allow both partners to feel more secure in their future, and require the couple to work together and collaborate in its creation.
While no couple gets married believing they will someday divorce, the sad truth is that almost 50% of all New Jersey marriages end in divorce. With this in mind, having a postnuptial agreement in place can greatly reduce the stress, time, and expense of any divorce, and as such is certainly a prudent measure for any couple to take in order to better protect their joint and individual financial future.
At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys have extensive experience helping couples to create, modify, enforce, and contest postnuptial agreements of all kinds in towns across Morris County, including Madison, Randolph, Florham Park, Hanover, Morristown, and Tewksbury.
Contact our firm today to discuss your unique needs and concerns regarding a postnuptial agreement in a confidential and comprehensive case assessment today.
Postnuptial Agreement Lawyers Create Fair and Robust Marital Agreements
Many of our clients often ask us “When should I create a postnuptial agreement?” While we believe that a postnuptial agreement can be of great benefit to any married couple, there are certain circumstances wherein couples are more likely to wish to create a postnuptial agreement than others. Some of the most common reasons for creating a postnuptial agreement include:
- The couple didn’t define their financial responsibilities and rights in a prenuptial agreement, and now wish to
- The financial circumstances of one party has changed greatly and the couple wishes to address this change; for example in the case of the receipt of a large inheritance, a significant promotion or raise, the acquisition of stocks, the sale or pending sale of a business or investment holdings
- Financial uncertainty is damaging the stability of the marriage
- The couple wishes to make their own plan for equitable distribution in the event of a divorce, rather than having it decided for them by the courts
- One or both parties wishes to secure financial support for children from a previous marriage
Remember, this list is by no means final, simply some of the most common scenarios we see when creating postnuptial agreements. In each of these scenarios, by drafting and signing a postnuptial agreement, the couple is creating prudent financial plans for a variety of scenarios and situations which will all save a great deal of expense and time in the event of a divorce, or the death of one partner.
So while creating a postnuptial agreement can be of enormous benefit to any married couple, there are several important requirements that will need to be met in order to ensure that your postnuptial agreement is considered fair, legally valid, and enforceable.
Is My Postnuptial Agreement Valid?
In order for any postnuptial agreement to be considered valid and enforceable by a court of law, several important requirements need to be met during its creation. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that while courts usually consider prenuptial agreements to be financial arrangements between two separate individuals, those same courts will be much stricter when considering the validity of any postnuptial agreement. This is due to the fact that those individuals are now married, and as such there will often exist various dynamics and emotional pressures for both parties which can influence their judgment, and their actions towards one-another.
So while the following items are all necessary towards the creation of a legal and enforceable postnuptial agreement, perhaps the most important factor of them all is that there exists no doubt regarding each party’s clear decision to enter into the agreement, and that neither party felt pressured, compelled, or otherwise coerced into the signing of their postnuptial agreement. With that primary requirement in mind, here are the complete requirements for the creation of a valid and enforceable postnuptial agreement:
- Each party must retain separate legal representation, or explicitly waive their right to representation in writing.
- Each party must fully and accurately disclose financial information regarding any of the assets, investments, or terms described in the postnuptial agreement.
- The postnuptial agreement must be fair and reasonable to both parties. If anyone party is particularly disadvantaged by the terms outlined in the postnuptial agreement, it most likely will not be considered valid or enforceable.
- There must be no question that either party was forced, manipulated, compelled, tricked, or pressured into signing the agreement.
- Both parties must be given a fair amount of time to consider the terms of the agreement and their potential implications, and be able to reach an informed decision regarding whether or not to ultimately sign the postnuptial agreement.
If any one of these above requirements are not met, the validity of the postnuptial agreement in question can be contested in court. If you are considering entering into a postnuptial agreement with your spouse it is critical that you meet all of these requirements, otherwise the stress and expense that your postnuptial agreement was supposed to have saved you will instead only be a source of greater frustration, wasted time, and financial drain. Our attorneys are prepared to work closely with you and your spouse, and ensure that your postnuptial agreement not only accurately reflects your individual needs, rights, and interests, but is also valid, and ultimately worth the effort of creating it in the first place.
If, on the other hand, you have signed a postnuptial agreement, but felt pressured to do so, it may be possible to contest the validity of your postnuptial agreement. While it can sometimes be difficult to prove this fact, remember that court’s are much more wary of this exact scenario happening during the creation of any postnuptial agreement, and with the help of your attorneys, you can demonstrate to the court exactly how and why you felt pressured to sign a postnuptial agreement which is clearly unfair to you, and as such should not be considered valid.
Postnuptial Agreements and Financial Disclosure
Even though the validity of any postnuptial agreement will greatly depend upon whether or not one party felt pressured or forced into its signing, another extremely important requirement is that of full and accurate financial disclosure.
If it is determined that any asset mentioned in the postnuptial agreement was inaccurately valued, or its value was not fully disclosed either purposely or by mistake, than the entirety of that agreement will most likely be considered invalid. With this in mind, our attorneys regularly work with financial consultants and valuation experts of all kinds.
While we are certainly familiar with the many intricacies and complexities of financial law, how the value of assets is determined, and how those values can and will affect any agreement you enter into, we also recognize that at the end of the day we are lawyers, not financial experts. However, by consulting with real estate evaluators, business evaluators, investment evaluators, and financial experts of all kinds, we can help you to ensure that the value of any asset mentioned in your postnuptial agreement is accurate, fairly accounted for in any agreement you sign, and that those same agreements are ultimately legal and enforceable.
Contact Our Postnuptial Agreement Lawyers Today
At Jacobs Berger, our family law attorneys have over 25 years of combined experience helping couples draft, modify, enforce, and contest marital agreements of all kinds in New Jersey.
The goal of our firm in any legal matter is to find constructive and fair solutions, solutions that protect all that you have already worked to achieve, and which set the foundation for healthy and stable financial, legal, and parental futures.
To speak with our team today in a comprehensive and confidential case assessment today regarding your postnuptial agreement, any specific issues or concerns you may have, and your options moving forward, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 710-4366.