The decisions that go into planning a wedding can seem endless. Complicated choices from whom to invite, the date, and the venue can be difficult. One planning decision that should not be difficult, however, is deciding to create a prenuptial agreement or not. Often people dismiss or undermine the importance of a premarital agreement because they cannot fathom divorcing the person they are about to marry. While it might seem out of the realm of possibility now, establishing a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse might be the best decision in your partnership to date.
The process of establishing a premarital agreement is complex. Before entering into such an agreement, there are many questions that need to be addressed and answered. To better prepare yourself for these discussions it is important that you thoroughly develop your own opinions on topics such as finances, children, domestic responsibilities, etc. These topics may seem simple at first. However, upon further review and analysis, each category contains highly complicated questions with many layers. One of the most imperative steps you can take in establishing a prenuptial agreement is to fully establish your platform and stance on these issues. Below we will discuss some of the issues to begin considering so that when you do consult an experienced New Jersey family lawyer you are best prepared.
Your Premarital Finances
Before entering into your marriage, you and your spouse have your own assets and debts. It is important to list all of your finances and be straightforward with your spouse about any property, liabilities, and forms of income that exist. Once you have established this document, the next step is to think about is how you would like to handle these finances if the marriage does end in divorce. There are two options. The first scenario is that all of the premarital assets and debts that you and your spouse bring into the marriage will be commingled and divided equally in the event of a divorce. The second option is that these assets and debts will not be intertwined and each respective spouse will be entitled to, or responsible for, their premarital assets or debts.
Your Marital Property
Once you and your spouse are married, your marriage will produce additional assets or liabilities. The assets that you and your spouse accumulate together after marriage are referred to as martial property. With regard to dividing your marital property, the key question to ask is will you and your spouse divide these assets and liabilities evenly upon divorce, or will there be another arrangement in place such as an established split based on a percentage?
Financial Decisions in the Marriage
Another important decision to make before entering into a marriage is to establish who will make the financial decisions. Will you and your spouse do it together? Will one of the two of you be the decision maker and control the checkbook? Will you and your spouse have joint bank accounts or separate accounts? Who will be responsible for paying monthly bills? Is it okay for your spouse to make a large purchase on his or her own or will they need your permission?
In addition to the above financial decisions, it is also very important to acknowledge what type of person you are with regard to money. Typically an individual can be classified as either a spender or a saver. Establishing a conversation with your future spouse about their attitudes towards money is imperative. You and your spouse should discuss concepts such as retirement savings and long term goals. Will you and your spouse both contribute to these goals, and if so, in what manner?
Attitudes Toward Work and Children
What are your expectations for your spouse as it relates to employment? Will you both work? What if your spouse wants to change careers or no longer provides the income they once did? If you have children together, are both parents going to continue to work or will one raise the child? In the event of divorce, what would an ideal custody arrangement look like? Will both parents be responsible for paying child support?
Contact our Bergen County NJ Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Your answers to these difficult questions can easily produce opinions that vary greatly from your spouse’s. Leveraging the advice and expertise of an experienced New Jersey family lawyer in establishing a prenuptial agreement is paramount. The law offices of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark have assisted thousands of couples in establishing prenuptial agreements in Bergen County, including in towns such as Fort Lee, Hackensack, Mahwah, Montvale and Teaneck. If you and your fiance are considering a prenuptial agreement reach out to our offices today for a free consultation at 201-397-1750.