A prenuptial agreement – also known as a premarital agreement – is a contract between future spouses entered into before a marriage or civil union. The terms of the prenuptial agreement are intended to dictate the rights and obligations of each spouse in the event of a divorce or dissolution of the partnership. By establishing these terms in advance, it can save both spouses emotional and financial difficulty in the event of a divorce.
In New Jersey, prenuptial agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital and Pre-Civil Union Agreement ACT (UPAA), N.J.S.A. 37:2-31, et seq., which requires that the agreement must be in writing and that it goes into effect as of the marriage of the two parties. Prenuptial agreements generally include provisions for the following areas:
- The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located
- The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property
- The disposition of property upon separation, divorce, dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event
- The payment, modification or elimination of spousal support
- The making of a will, trust or other documentation to carry out the provisions of the agreement
- The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefits from life insurance policies
- The choice of state law governing the construction of the agreement
- Any other matter, including the parties’ personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy
Under the UPAA, a complete and accurate statement of assets must be attached to the prenuptial agreement in order to be valid.