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Signing A Prenuptial And Agreeing To The Rules Before Marriage

Author : Stephen Browndorf

Increasingly couples are seeking prenuptial agreements in New Jersey. As an area of family law in Northfield, NJ, the prenuptial is an agreement that is usually initiated to safeguard assets in the event a spouse dies or divorces. Originally the purview of the wealthy, the growth in the number of families in which both spouses are employed has led to middle class couples looking for some protection of assets should the marriage end.

Do I Really Want a Prenuptial?

There are several reasons why a prenuptial agreement may seem fortuitous.

*Keep assets in a family
*Protect the assets of the spouse from a prior marriage
*Protect the assets for children that were born in a prior marriage
*Protect personal assets of a wealthy person
*Gain assurances that someone is not marrying them for their money

The area of family law in Northfield, NJ is a difficult one because courts have upheld and ruled against prenuptial agreements. Judge's have a lot of leeway in how they rule on prenuptial enforcement agreements because statutory and case law is open to a lot of interpretation. One mistake that people planning on marrying make is assuming that since the prenuptial is a legal contract that it is automatically enforceable.

It All Depends on the Circumstances

The case law concerning prenuptial agreements includes the following major decisions.

In 1984, the first case to define prenuptial enforceability was heard in Marschall v. Marschall. The court of family law in Northfield, NJ rules that the prenuptial was only fully enforceable if there was full disclosure of all assets made and that included independent assets. One person should reveal any information that may influence the other person's decision to sign the prenuptial agreement. This rule applies to both parties to the agreement.

In D'Onofrio v. D'Onofrio a prenuptial agreement was enforced because it could be proven that the spouse trying to break the agreement did understand what she was signing when she agreed to the prenuptial. The proof was that the agreement actually acknowledged that the husband's assets had a much higher value than the wife's, and the wife had worked as a bookkeeper before the marriage.

In Orgler vs. Orgler, the opposite judgment was made. It was determined that the wife was not aware of the husband's assets before the marriage and that she had only met with an attorney once before signing the agreement. In that case the prenuptial agreement was ruled as not being enforceable.

Finally, in 1993 in the case of Jacobitti v. Jacobitti it was ruled that a prenuptial agreement leaving one spouse with assets while the other is left destitute is not acceptable. In this case the wife had multiple sclerosis, was wheelchair bound and unable to work.

Consulting an Attorney is Critical

Clearly you need to discuss a prenuptial agreement with an experienced attorney specializing in family law in Northfield, NJ. The attorney will meet with you as many times as it takes to analyze financial circumstances and to devise a prenuptial agreement that is fair. Since there are never any guarantees that a judge will uphold a prenuptial agreement, you need to be represented by counsel so you know that the agreement is as legally sound as possible.

Author's Resource Box

Stephen A. Browndorf Attorney At Law has been offering family law services to Northfield, NJ and surrounding areas including Atlantic, Cape May, Ocean, Burlington, Camden and Burlington counties. For more details on Family Law, Northfield, NJ and Divorce Attorney, Northfield, NJ please visit our website

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Tags:   Family Law, Northfield, NJ, Divorce Attorney, Northfield, NJ

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Submitted : 2011-06-20    Word Count : 523    Times Viewed: 460