First of all, perhaps you’re wondering what is an antenuptial contract exactly? An antenuptial contract is another legal term for the more commonly known prenuptial agreement. This type of legal agreement is entered into by two future spouses and outlines how personal assets will be divided should a divorce occur in the future. An antenuptial contract is considered a personal contract between the two parties. In the state of New Jersey, the antenuptial contract becomes valid when the two signing parties are legally married. As such, you are not required to have it legally registered or filed unless the terms were to be disputed in a divorce action. In the case that this does occur, the antenuptial contract would then have to be filed in court. At that point in time, it would most likely be used as an exhibit in a divorce trial.
We recommend that when considering an antenuptial agreement, you actually concentrate on how the contract can be comprised in order to best fit your individual financial situation.
What Makes an Antenuptial Contract Invalid?
There are several legal issues that can cause an antenuptial contract to be invalidated by the state of New Jersey. Some of them are as follows:
- The agreement was deceptive: An example would be one spouse attempting to hide premarital assets or making false statements as to their value.
- The paperwork is incorrect: This can include the paperwork not being written, signed by both parties, notarized, or witnessed before the marriage took place.
- The agreement was signed under duress: This can pertain to the threat of physical, emotional, or financial pressure placed on one of the parties to sign the agreement.
- The agreement was signed too close to the wedding day: If one or both parties did not have an adequate amount of time to read and review the agreement before signing, then it could be invalidated by the court.
- One or both parties lacked the mental capacity to sign: If it can be proven that one or both parties were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the agreement was signed, a judge might render the agreement invalid.
What Can be Included in an Antenuptial Agreement?
When asking what can be included in an antenuptial agreement, it is first important to note what cannot be written into the contract, which includes stipulations regarding child support, childcare, or child custody. Only a court has the legal authority to make such judgments based on what is in the best interest of the child. That being said, the things that can be included in the antenuptial agreement include:
- Division of marital assets
- Spousal support
Do I Have to Have an Antenuptial Agreement When I Get Married?
There is no law that requires either party to have an antenuptial agreement when they get married. However, it should be noted that having such an agreement in place is a sound decision for both parties as it protects the financial interests of both individuals in the event that a divorce should occur in the future.
If you need assistance in drafting an antenuptial agreement or need the professional expertise of a family law attorney to examine the document prior to signing, contact us at (908) 879-9499 and schedule an appointment for a one-hour strategy session. We look forward to serving you.