Somerville Divorce Lawyers: What’s a Post Nuptial Agreement?

Many people have heard of a prenuptial agreement, but most haven’t heard of a post-nuptial agreement. A post nuptial agreement is just as it sounds, an agreement between two married people usually made to preserve and/or designate their assets that they sign after they already are married. In the state of New Jersey, many assets such as the family home, a business or even a vintage automobile are subject to equitable distribution. That means if it is acquired during the marriage it is an asset that belongs to both people and upon divorce will be equitably distributed between the parties.

Often, if one spouse acquires something special or works very hard in one particular area, he or she may want the option of keeping that asset in the event the couple divorces. For example, if the wife was previously a stay at home mom and started a small business while she was at home, she may want to protect that business in the instance of divorce. It may be that her children are now in high school and she is no longer working from home but now has her own office space, her own employees and is earning $60,000 per year. Naturally, she would want to keep that business and not have any portion of it distributed to her spouse. One avenue to do this would be to have Lyons & Associates draft a post-nuptial agreement.

A post nuptial agreement should not be in contemplation of divorce, but should be done to protect or designate ownership of assets acquired during the marriage. A couple may be perfectly happy when they draft a post nuptial agreement; they may just be looking out for their own interests. There are four requirements to have a legally valid post-nuptial agreement;

  • Independent counsel for both parties; in other words each party should have their own attorney review the agreement with him or her.
  • Fair and equitable terms; the agreement should not be skewed to benefit only one party. It should be fair to both parties.
  • There should be no coercion or duress; one party should not be threatening divorce if the other will not sign the agreement.
  • Full disclosure by both parties; if the Court finds that funds or information were being hidden from the other spouse, they will not enforce the agreement. It is very important both sides disclose all of their assets.

Often an agreement such as a post-nuptial takes a lot of pressure off of the parties, especially if the marriage is not going well. It allows the parties to work on fixing the marriage and moving forward without taking into account the financial repercussions of a divorce.

In addition, a post-nuptial agreement can also be helpful when one or both spouses have children from a prior marriage. A spouse may want to preserve a certain asset so that the child can inherit it without input from the new spouse. People have many different reasons for preserving their assets. At Lyons & Associates we can help you work through those reasons and develop a solution that is right for you.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Family Law and Divorce Lawyer at Lyons & Associates

To obtain additional information about family or divorce law in New Jersey, or to discuss how we can assist you with your situation, please schedule a confidential consultation with New Jersey family law attorney Terry Lyons or one of our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers by calling (908) 575-9777, or filling out our intake form.

Written By: Chris Ann Wright, Esq.