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Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law Over 25 Years of Experience
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Somerville Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

Prenuptial or premarital agreements are no longer limited to the rich and the famous. Anyone entering a marriage can benefit from laying out the rights and responsibilities of each spouse beforehand to limit any potential conflicts down the line. Prenups create peace of mind for the married parties so they can focus on building their lives together, confident that their relationship is all about love, commitment, and family. While they are more commonly used in second marriages or between couples marrying at a more advanced age, there are countless benefits to a prenuptial agreement for couples at all ages and stages of life.

Somerville prenuptial agreement lawyer Katherine K. Wagner has decades of experience helping clients in the Counties of Somerset, Hunterdon and Middlesex and the surrounding areas craft prenuptial agreements tailored to their specific needs and the circumstances of their families. Ms. Wagner understands that a prenuptial agreement may be a difficult topic to broach with a future spouse, but the security and peace of mind that these agreements offer can be a strong, durable foundation that supports your marriage and allows it to flourish free of financial worry. Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law, is here to help you get your marriage started off right.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, often called a “prenup,” is a legal contract entered into by a couple in advance of marriage. The legal purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to protect assets acquired both before and during the marriage in the event of a divorce. They can also be used to determine rights and obligations during the marriage, such as the use of marital money, budgeting and savings. With divorce rates soaring, it is sometimes important to protect premarital and family assets from the strict and support dictates of New Jersey law.

Requirements for a Valid Prenuptial Agreement

In New Jersey, a valid prenuptial agreement must have three things:

  • It must include full disclosure of all assets and liabilities of the parties, which may include copies of tax returns, statements of assets and liabilities. These documents and other financial statements will typically be attached as schedules to the actual agreement.
  • The parties must have their own independent attorneys to counsel them on the terms and effects of the agreement.
  • The agreement must be signed and notarized in sufficient time before the actual marriage ceremony to avoid the issue of coercion. In fact, Ms. Wagner typically requires that negotiations for a prenuptial agreement begin at least six to eight months before the anticipated marriage to allow both parties to adequately and fairly negotiate and contemplate the terms without the pressure of possibly losing deposits for the wedding or the embarrassment a last-minute cancellation might entail.

If any one of these three prongs is missing, the prenuptial agreement may be deemed invalid at the time it is sought to be enforced. Seasoned family law attorney Katherine Wagner strongly recommends that you retain a qualified, detail-oriented prenuptial agreement attorney at least six to eight months in advance of the marriage to allow for sufficient time to draft and negotiate all of the elements necessary for a valid prenuptial agreement.

What Goes Into a Prenuptial Agreement?

As with any family law issue, there is no one set form of prenuptial agreement. It can be as vague or as detailed as the parties’ desire, as long as both have input and consideration. Prenuptial agreements can include protection for any number of assets, including, for example:

  • Homes, rental units, or other real estate properties
  • Retirement accounts
  • Business interests and assets
  • Pets
  • Foreign assets
  • Trusts
  • Investment and savings accounts
  • Inheritance
  • Personal property such as music equipment, movies, or furniture
  • Amount and term of alimony
  • Waiver of alimony

Prenuptial agreements can also include terms that set boundaries on the use of marital assets and income during the marriage. Ms. Wagner has drafted many very involved prenuptial agreements, including such minute detail as who would pay for the electric bill and who would pay for the phone bill. A prenuptial agreement can even include a time limit on its viability, often called a “sunset” clause. For example, you can stipulate that if the parties are still married after 15 years, the prenup will expire and no longer remain binding.

There are legal limits to what a prenup can cover. Prenups cannot set terms for child-rearing, for example, or requirements for things like physical affection between the spouses. Likewise, a prenup cannot be used to avoid paying child support in the event of a divorce. Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law, will work with you to determine what provisions are appropriate and necessary for your New Jersey prenup and which provisions are likely to be enforceable in court.

Call an Experienced Somerset County Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

If you are planning to marry and think you may benefit from a prenuptial agreement, or if your future spouse has initiated the prenuptial agreement process, contact a dedicated and passionate New Jersey family law attorney. Call Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law, today for help with a prenuptial agreement and other family law issues in the Counties of Somerset, Hunterdon and Middlesex and the surrounding areas.

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