When either or both parties want to preserve assets for their children, this can be accomplished by entering into a Premarital Agreement. Premarital Agreements serve two primary purposes. One purpose is to define each party’s rights and obligations with respect to property and spousal support in the event of a marital break-up. A second purpose is to specify exactly what rights each spouse will and will not have in the property of the other, as well as any jointly owned property when one spouse dies. Parties can specify these rights and obligations as they see fit, regardless of what the marital laws or the trusts and estates laws provide wherever the couple chooses to live. Each party should obtain independent legal advice so the agreement is carefully drafted to meet each party’s objectives. Both parties must provide full disclosure of their financial circumstances, and the final agreement should be completed and signed several weeks before the wedding so that neither party is acting under duress on the eve of the ceremony. By following these requirements, parties increase the likelihood that their Premarital Agreement will be upheld in the event of a challenge.
Amy Wechsler is a Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney in Warren, New Jersey and a partner with the law firm of Shimalla, Wechsler, Lepp & D’Onofrio, LLP.