Postnuptial Agreements in New Jersey and New York

close up shot of two gold rings sitting on rockDuring the course of your marriage, you or your spouse may experience an unanticipated, life-changing event, such as starting a business, securing an extremely high-paying job, or coming into significant assets through an inheritance or due to winning the lottery. When these life changes happen, you may decide that it is necessary to have a postnuptial agreement to protect yourself and your family

Postnups are almost identical to prenups, mostly because they are also a way to protect your assets in the case of a divorce or separation. However, instead of being signed prior to the wedding, they are signed after the fact. More disclosure is also required after marriage to make it a valid agreement.

A postnuptial agreement may take place because a couple may have discussed a prenup but never signed it before the marriage or because some financial change or concerns arose, which led to a couple seeking an agreement to make them feel more secure in the marriage financially. They are not looking to divorce or legally separate.

What A Postnup Agreement May Address

Your postnuptial agreement can include provisions for:

  • Property that is bought in the future during your marriage, such as houses and cars
  • Alimony
  • The right to share in each other’s estate upon either spouse’s death

Just as every person’s situation is different, well constructed postnuptial agreements vary widely. Depending on your situation, the above concerns may or may not apply.

In a postnup, property disclosures could include physical property such as cars and jewelry, as well as real property that includes real estate and land. Among other financial assets one can include in them are stocks, cash, bonds and retirement accounts.

If you and your spouse are considering entering into a postnuptial agreement, consult with the Berner Law & Mediation Group. Our postnuptial agreement lawyers and mediators in New Jersey and New York can help ensure that your agreement is properly drafted and fair to both parties.

What to Exclude In A Postnup

The following terms are not legally enforceable in a postnup:

  • Child Support – any terms relating to child support in a prenup or postnup agreement will not be enforceable after a divorce
  • Child Custody – similarly, child custody terms will also be ignored. This is because such terms in a marital agreement may go against the best interests and well being of the children. Issues regarding children are considered as per the best scenario for the children, not based on the preferences of the parents.

Enforcing A Postnup

Postnuptial agreements are enforced as much as Prenuptial agreements in New York, However, post nuptial agreements tend to be more difficult to enforce in New Jersey than premarital agreements. While family courts tend to assume that a prenup is valid and enforceable, this is not always the case for post nuptial agreements due to a legal fiduciary duty to one another. This spousal fiduciary duty starts when a couple gets married and continues until the divorce is final and marital assets are all distributed. The courts wish to be certain that the contract was entered into without any duress, misrepresentation or coercion. The state of New Jersey has one of the highest standards of fairness when it comes to post nuptial agreements.

How To Have The Postnup Conversation

While many spouses recognize that these agreements would protect their financial security as well as enhance the stability of their marriage, it is not always an easy topic to discuss. We work with clients to help them maneuver through this conversation and create a contract that is beneficial and agreeable to both parties. These contracts not only protect the marriage, they also can help the relationship continue to grow and prosper.

Tips on how to bring up the topic: 

  • Choose the right time to begin the conversation. Don’t choose a time during an argument, for instance, or it may be presented as a negative idea. 
  • Choose the right location to have the conversation. Don’t choose a busy, public area – instead a quiet location where you can both express your wants and needs. 
  • Bring in a third party if you need to. If you don’t feel comfortable bringing up the idea, consider scheduling a meeting with a  mediator or a lawyer. A lawyer or mediator can help explain the benefits of the contract in a way that is informative and help you and your spouse discuss these issues in a productive way.

Support From Our Experienced Lawyers

A valid postnuptial agreement can save time, money, and worry in the future, whether you remain married or seek a divorce. Our attorneys or mediators can discuss your specific situation, elaborate upon available options, and explain all benefits of a postnup agreement. A valid and enforceable postnuptial agreement often requires the guidance of an experienced lawyer, so if this is something that you are considering, we invite you to call our office today so we can be of help to you and your family.

Call Berner Law & Mediation Group Today To Learn More

We will take the time to fully understand and analyze all the issues in the case in order to best represent you or mediate your matter. Call our New Jersey or New York office today to schedule a consultation with a skilled and experienced lawyer.

Schedule an Appointment Today

For further information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Berner Law & Mediation Group.



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