A sample New Jersey prenuptial agreement is specific to the needs and laws of a couple living in New Jersey. Therefore, it may not adequately meet the needs of a couple living in another part of the country. For this reason it’s important to review prenuptial agreement samples that are particular to your specific state to understand what steps your state requires to legalize your contract.
Although there are specific laws to each state, including New Jersey, all states follow a similar outline and process. There can be key differences, though, and it’s therefore important to consult an attorney.
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Below is a sample of a completed, comprehensive agreement that is followed by every state. This sample is intended to increase your knowledge of what will be on your actual form, and therefore help guide your discussion with your fiancé.
Again, remember that a sample New Jersey prenuptial agreement is not the actual document and is intended to only help you understand what it will look like. Knowing what the form looks like will help you and your fiancé have a more enriched and meaningful conversation. You can begin the legal process to make your contract legally recognized and binding only after you have a serious conversation about how you want your assets divided if you divorce.
What Should Be Handled Prior to Forming a New Jersey Prenuptial Agreement
Below are some important topics that you should talk about seriously and honestly with your fiancé:
1) Laying Out Your Pre-Marital Assets and Debts – Together, you and your fiancé need to sit down and evaluate all the assets and debts that you acquired as individuals you plan to bring into your marriage. Assets include, but are not limited to: property, savings, real estate, possessions and gifts. Debts include, but are not limited to: student loans, personal loans and mortgage payments. Prenuptial agreements mandate that each partner disclose all assets and debts to their partner. Many engaged couples find it helpful to make a list of their assets and then a list of their debts. As you create your lists, begin to decide what items you would want to keep if you and your partner should divorce.
Many people feel attached to certain items that they have personally bought or acquired individually during their relationship. For instance, if you and your fiancé plan to live on a farm together that has been in your family for hundreds of years, you will want to specify that if you should divorce, the farm will remain yours. If you desire to keep any items after your divorce, it’s imperative that your partner consents and that it is outlined in your prenuptial agreement.
2) Laying Out Your Marital Assets and Debts - This step details the collective assets that you and your partner expect to acquire during marriage. In order to do this, you and your fiancé must have a conversation about your individual views on money handling, specifically saving and spending. If you and your partner have been single for your entire life, you each been responsible for your individual money habits. Couples made of two individuals who are both getting married for the first time need to sit down together and create a financial plan that they both feel comfortable before they add it into their legally binding contract. Some important questions that you should discuss about budgeting, savings and spending:
- Will you continue to have individual saving and checking accounts or will you share a joint account?
- If you maintain individual accounts will you each have access to them?
- Upon divorce how will your joint money be divided?
- How will purchasing decisions be made?
- Who will handle the checkbook and be responsible for paying bills?
- How will you pay off debt?
- How will savings for events such as retirement be established?
Looking at sample prenuptial agreements specific to New Jersey will help you and your fiancé understand what will be asked of you on the actual form. This will help you shape and direct your conversations as you decide what is best for you as a couple. This includes being honest about debts that your fiancé may not have previously known about. This step, although sometimes uncomfortable, needs to be done so that you can both feel comfortable about the agreements that you will make about how to divide assets and debts if you should divorce. It will also help you to feel more confident in your relationship.
3. Career and Education - Before you say “I do” you and your fiancé need to discuss the career and educational goals that you plan to complete during your marriage. You will both need to think long term and factor in events that may occur that would affect these goals, such as children and career advancement opportunities. If one spouse plans to further their education or stay home once a baby is born, how will you finance this? Talking about these goals openly and honestly will not only help you in your prenuptial agreement planning, but will also strengthen you as a couple. Some questions that you should consider and discuss:
- How will this extra money be handled in the case of divorce?
- Will one spouse stay home with the children?
- If a spouse has a career and choses to stay home, will the other spouse compensate for the money lost from not working?
- If a spouse is planning to further their education how will this be financed?
- Who will be responsible for paying off student loans?
4) Spousal Support and Alimony - During engagement, you and your fiancé need to agree upon certain spousal support that will be paid from one spouse to another after your divorce. The amount paid is based on what concessions one spouse made for the good of the marriage or family. A concession would be where one spouse would give up their career to stay home with the children.
However, the overall amount to be paid is based on several factors. In the alimony agreement, couples also have the opportunity to specify an end date to the alimony payments. It’s crucial that couples talk honestly about alimony before they included it in their prenuptial agreement. Each partner needs to know what is expected of them and what they plan to contribute to the marriage. Marriages becomes an unhappy partnership when spouses don’t know what they expect of themselves or their partners.
The key to creating a successful prenuptial agreement in New Jersey is to spend a lot of time talking about all parts of the agreement with your fiancé. Before meeting with an attorney and creating a legal document you and your fiancé need to have discussed all the possible outcomes and situations.