It is not uncommon for people to enter into agreements that address the resolution of their financial affairs and assets while they are still dedicated to their relationship. Prenuptial agreements are entered into before a couple gets married. Postnuptial agreements are entered into after a couple has married. Further, there are actually two types of postnuptial agreements: mid-marriage agreements and end-of-marriage agreements. A mid-marriage agreement is defined as an agreement that is “entered into before the marriage [loses] all of its vitality and when at least one of the parties, without reservation, wanted the marriage to survive.” Pacelli v. Pacelli, 319 N.J. Super. 185, 190 (App. Div. 1999). Conversely, an end-of-marriage agreement is an agreement that is entered into “at a time when relations have already deteriorated.” Ibid.
The classification of a particular agreement affects the court’s analysis and enforceability of that agreement. A court will uphold and enforce a prenuptial agreement so long as it finds that the agreement is “fair and just.” Id. at 189. Alternatively, an end-of-marriage agreement will be upheld so long as the court finds it is “fair and equitable.” Ibid. However, in a case where the court determines that an agreement is a mid-marriage agreement, the court is required to closely scrutinize and carefully evaluate the agreement, in addition to considering “the agreement’s impact when enforced.” Id. at 198. As such, in a case where a person seeks to enforce a marital agreement, it is imperative that the agreement is accurately interpreted and properly classified.
Pursuing the enforcement of a martial agreement can be complicated. Fortunately, our skilled and knowledgeable New Jersey family law attorneys at Lyons & Associates have extensive experience in addressing this particular issue. We invite you to contact us online or give us a call at our office at 908-575-9777 to schedule an appointment.
Written by: Joanna Adu, Esq.