A premarital agreement, commonly known as a “prenup,” is a document that parties may choose to sign before their marriage in order to define their rights and obligations in the event of divorce or death.  At Paras, Apy & Reiss, P.C., our attorneys have drafted numerous premarital agreements.  A properly prepared premarital agreement may help spouses avoid some of the legal, financial and emotional difficulties that often accompany a divorce.

While there are many reasons that a person might want to enter into a premarital agreement, some are more common than others.  A party getting married for a second time may want to protect the property owned prior to that marriage.  Likewise, a person may want to preserve his assets for his children.  Lastly, and frequently, a party may have equity in a house, business, or bank account that he or she wants to protect.

In addition to detailing the specific disposition of assets, a couple may choose to define the amount of spousal support that will be paid in the event of a divorce, as well as the length of time such support is paid.

The contents of a premarital agreement will vary depending on each person’s individual requirements.  An experienced attorney can explain your options and help you tailor an agreement to suit your specific needs.

There are, however, certain rules that must be followed to ensure that your prenuptial agreement will be enforceable.  Specifically, the drafting of a premarital agreement in New Jersey is governed by the Uniform Premarital and Pre-Civil Union Agreement Act.  The Act provides guidelines which must be followed in order to help make sure that your agreement will be enforceable.  Some of the requirements are:

  • Your premarital agreement must be in writing. Oral agreements are not sufficient.
  • Your agreement must be signed by the people who will be bound by the agreement – you and your future husband or wife.
  • Each party must voluntarily enter into the premarital agreement.
  • Your agreement must be fair at the time that it was signed.
  • Your agreement must include a detailed list of each party’s assets, debts, and income.
  • Each party must consult with his or her own attorney, or knowingly waive that right in writing.

Premarital agreements can be an uncomfortable topic of discussion.  For this reason, many couples choose to ignore talking about premarital agreements until it is too late.  It is very important that you consult with an attorney well in advance of your wedding date to ensure that there is enough time to appropriately gather the necessary information and draft, review, edit, and sign your premarital agreement.

Premarital agreements, when done correctly, are a very effective way to protect your rights and your assets in the event of divorce or death.  At Paras, Apy & Reiss, P.C., we are prepared to assist you in crafting a document that meets the standards set by New Jersey law while also ensuring that your objectives are fully met.


The information in this article is not intended as legal advice.  For legal advice, you should consult your attorney.