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A prenuptial agreement may protect your assets long term

As you prepare to walk down the aisle, you may be excited to live in marital bliss long term with your one and only. The truth is, though, that not all marriages last for one reason or another. Irreconcilable differences can easily push two people apart over time.

For this reason, you may want to create a prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement or prenup, before you say, "I do." Here is a look at what this type of agreement can do for you in New Jersey.

What is the purpose of a prenuptial agreement?

Although wealthy people often use prenuptial agreements, these legal documents can help individuals at all income levels. You can use a prenup to do the following:

  • Protect your assets.
  • Avoid drawn-out, expensive disputes in the event you and your spouse get divorced.
  • Clarify your and the other party's financial responsibilities and rights while you are married.
  • Protect yourself from taking on your spouse's debts if you divorce.

You can even use a prenuptial agreement to determine who will receive your property when you die.

What happens if I do not create a prenuptial agreement?

If you do not put together this type of agreement, your spouse can do the following both during the marriage and after it based on state law:

  • Assume responsibilities related to managing any property you acquire while married.
  • Receive and share in the ownership of any property that you acquire during your marriage.
  • Receive a portion of your property when you die.

The problem is that you may not necessarily want your spouse to do one or all of the above. In other words, you prefer to deviate from state law. This may be the case if, for instance, you would like your property to pass to your children from a former marriage instead of to your current spouse upon your death. The benefit of a prenuptial agreement is that designing it to achieve your unique goals is possible.

Producing a valid agreement

Prenuptial agreements are generally widely accepted today, but yours may not be accepted if it is not valid in the eyes of the court. A judge may determine that your prenuptial agreement does not meet the state's requirements or is unfair, in which case the judge will set it aside. However, an applied understanding of the law may help you to put together an agreement with your spouse that is justifiable, clear and understandable so that you protect your assets and best interests long term.

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