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How a Postnuptial Agreement Can Save a Marriage

A postnuptial agreement is a contract between people who are already married. It can govern issues of financial responsibility during the marriage and provide for the division of assets and debts if the spouses divorce. Postnuptial agreements are becoming more popular, since they afford couples a way to settle potential disputes over money and property without animosity. In some cases, a postnup can actually save a marriage.

Postnuptial agreements are valid and enforceable in New Jersey if they are fair to both parties when made and when sought to be enforced. This is a high standard to meet, which is why it is best to consult with an experienced New Jersey family law attorney before signing a postnup.

To confirm fairness, a court will look at several factors, including:

  • Full disclosure — Both parties must make each other fully aware of all their assets and debts.
  • Independent representation — It is advisable for each spouse to have their own lawyer to make sure that their rights are protected.
  • No coercion or duress — Evidence that one spouse was pressured into signing will make the agreement voidable.
  • Fair terms — Considering all the circumstances, the terms of the agreement cannot be skewed in favor of one spouse.

Although every marriage is unique, most couples that seek a postnuptial agreement are in one of a few situations. Sometimes, they meant to create a prenuptial agreement but never got to it before the wedding. A spouse may seek to create a postnuptial agreement if he or she has received or expects to receive a substantial inheritance or gift and wishes it to remain in his or her personal possession. The same goal may be desired by a spouse who owns a share of a business.

Another possible reason for entering into a postnup is when one spouse commits a serious breach of trust, such as having an affair, or is wasting marital assets. Some famous couples are rumored to have postnuptial agreements related to past infidelity. The alleged at-fault spouse may want to offer the other spouse an incentive to continue the marriage. Some agreements provide that if a breach of trust or other specified conduct happens again, the at-fault spouse must pay a lump sum or transfer some property to the other spouse. There are no statistics on whether this type of agreement is successful in achieving reconciliation. Nevertheless, a couple may see it as a chance worth taking to potentially save a marriage that is in jeopardy.

The Law Offices of Kisha M. Hebbon, LLC in Somerset is a family law firm that assists couples seeking prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. We work throughout New Jersey, including Somerset, Middlesex and Union counties. Call us at 732-873-6464 or contact us online today to discuss your situation.

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